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

Mazal tov ve-siman tov (Good Luck and Good Sign): Jewish marriage contracts in the British Library’s Hebrew collection

Monday, June 17, 2019

The celebration of a marriage is one of Judaism’s happiest and most joyous communal events. Jewish Wedding Song Siman Tov & Mazal Tov (YouTube) To mark the occasion a marriage contract – a ketubah [1] (literally ‘a writ’) is drawn...

Pouring wine on Haggadot: a Passover exception

Friday, April 19, 2019

Why are these Haggadah manuscripts different from all other Hebrew manuscripts? On all other nights we avoid spilling wine in our books, But on this particular night, it is unavoidable. Reading the Haggadah and pouring wine. Brother Haggadah, Spain, 14th...

Jewish love potions: a user's guide

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Would you like some help in your pursuit of your beloved? Our Hebrew manuscript collection can offer numerous love potion recipes and incantations, and now is the best time of year to share some of this wisdom with you. Whether...

Download Hebrew Manuscripts for free, in partnership with BL Labs

Friday, December 28, 2018

We are delighted to announce that five more downloadable datasets containing a total of 139 digitised Hebrew Manuscripts have just been published online here, bringing the total number of Hebrew datasets to 22, and 723 manuscripts. These manuscripts were digitised...

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