From North Africa and Europe in the west, through the Middle East to China in the east, our collection of Hebrew manuscripts manifests Jewish cultural and social lives spanning a thousand years. Explore some of these newly digitised collection items, examine key themes in our collection, and read expert articles to learn more about Jewish wisdom, culture, history and religion.


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Featured themes

Jewish Liturgy

From Siddur to Seder – the order of prayers and their exact readings were transmitted throughout the years across all Jewish communities.

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Hebrew Manuscripts: Jewish Law

Jewish Law

Explore the Talmud, Halakhah and legal codes, and how they affect every aspect of Jewish life.

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New Technologies and Digital Research

New technologies and digital research

How can we digitally experience Hebrew manuscripts? How can we unravel their secrets using computational and scientific techniques?

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Illuminations and the Art of Writing

Illuminations and the art of writing

From full border illuminations to marginal micrography, which stories are revealed by these creative forms of art?

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Science and Medicine

Science and medicine

From the alignment of the stars to the zodiac, what were the scientific works of Jews and how were they transmitted?

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The Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible

In which different forms have biblical texts been transmitted, and how was the accuracy of the holy text maintained?

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Jewish Communities

Jewish communities

What was it like to be a European, Middle Eastern, North African, or even Chinese Jew hundreds of years ago?

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Kabbalah and Mysticism

Kabbalah and mysticism

Explore the magical essence of words and the infinite creation of the physical and metaphysical universe.

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Featured Collection Items

View some of our unique collection items

Blog posts

Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word

Friday, August 28, 2020

I am thrilled and delighted to inform our readers and followers, that the long awaited exhibition Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word will be opening to the public on Tuesday 1st September in PACCAR2, the newest gallery of the...

The Tree of Knowledge: magic spells from a Jewish potion book

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

One of the items in our postponed exhibition Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word is a tiny little codex from sixteenth-century Italy. It is entitled The Tree of Knowledge (Ets ha-Da’at) and contains a collection of some 125 magic...

At the crossroads of cultures: a Hebrew manuscript of Johannes Sacrobosco’s De sphaera mundi

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The first printed books were often imitations of manuscripts in their layout: the same types of letters and the same letter combinations (ligatures) were used, and often the same illuminators added the decorations by hand in the same style they...

Anglo-Jewish deeds from medieval England- a treasure trove for historians

Monday, July 27, 2020

This blog presents a less known facet of the British Library’s Hebrew manuscript holdings, but which nonetheless constitutes a genuine treasure trove. I am referring to deeds - termed also as ‘bonds’, ‘charters’, ‘grants’ - which form part of a...

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