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Hebrew manuscripts

Our collection of Hebrew manuscripts is one of the most important in the world. Its volumes embrace many areas of Hebrew literature, with Bible, Talmud, kabbalah, philosophy and poetry being particularly well represented.

History and scope 1: Foundation collections

The beginnings of the British Library's Hebrew collections, including 130 manuscripts and charters bequeathed by Robert Harley.

History and scope 2: 19th century expansion

The expansion of the collections up to the mid-19th century, when the Hebrew collections comprised about 300 manuscripts.

History and scope 3: Almanzi Collection

322 medieval and early modern Hebrew manuscripts, added to the collections in 1865.

History and scope 4: Gaster and Shapira Collections

These include Karaite, Yemenite and Samaritan manuscripts.

History and scope 5: Genizah fragments

10,000 fragments from Cairo, providing insight into Jewish life around the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages.

Catalogues and guides

How to access the collections


Substantial holdings of Hebrew manuscript catalogues and full-text resources are available on microfilm or microfiche.


Ilana Tahan, M.Phil., Lead Curator, Hebrew and Christian Orient Studies
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7646
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7641