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Manuscripta Bibliae Hebraicae. Hebrew Bible Manuscripts in Western Europe (England, France, Germany, Italy) in the 12th and 13th centuries: A Material, Cultural and Social Approach – MBH

Submission summary

Manuscripta Bibliae Hebraicae (ACHN MBH)
Hebrew Bible Manuscripts in Western Europe (England, France, Germany, Italy) in the 12th and 13th centuries: A Material, Cultural and Social Approach

This project examines the place of the Hebrew Bible in Christian Western Europe during the Middle Ages and the history of the material transmission of the Hebrew Biblical text in England, France, Germany and northern Italy. The different forms that the biblical manuscripts took, together with the contents and socio-cultural uses of these artefacts (scrolls and codices), are at the heart of the project. The focus of this investigation of medieval Hebrew Bibles produced in 12th and 13th century Western Europe is on the material forms of these ‘Bible objects’ (their structure, their palaeographical and codicological characteristics, the layout of the text), their philological content (text, vocalisation, accentuation, Masorah), their practical uses and the discourses on these uses. Often overlooked in favour of sources dating back to the Ancient world, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, late medieval Biblical manuscripts are not simply textual receptacles but also the products of a culture that can be placed in context. They are also artefacts with a specific history and specific cultural and social functions. Although the Bible as we know it today - the Masoretic (i.e. accented, vocalised and annotated) Bible - was invented in the early Middle Ages, we still do not know how this Biblical text was transmitted from the East to Western Europe. Planned for 2016-2020, this project would be a crucial stepping stone in the study of this vast area. In-depth and concrete analyses of a set corpus of sources (Ashkenazic manuscripts dated from 1000 and 1300, undated sources and fragments) will allow the applicant to put her methodology and data grouping to the test, while also enabling her to create a database specifically devoted to medieval Biblical manuscripts alongside a 'Manuscripta Hebraicae Bibliae' web-portal, which will bring together digital sources, research tools and bibliographical information on this major but paradoxally little known medieval phenomenon. The textualisation of the Hebrew Bible, its put in writing (mise par écrit) will find, through this ACHN project, a high level of scientific treatment.

Project coordination

Elodie ATTIA (Centre Paul-Albert Février)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


UMR 7297 Centre Paul-Albert Février

Help of the ANR 400,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2016 - 48 Months

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