The Torah, Redux

9 11 2010

Thank God for the internet! In what can only be described as an act of philanthropy, the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford have made electronically available MS Hunt. 80: an autograph section of Maimonides’ Mishne Torah, checked against the original version by the author himself. It is most unfortunate that the other volumes of this important text are no longer extant, but I strongly encourage everybody to have a look at what is available. You will note that, towards the end of the manuscript, we read the following words:

הוגה מספרי אני משה ברבי מימון ז”ל

Checked against my book. I am Moses, son of Rabbi Maimon of blessed memory.

One can only imagine the excitement of this manuscript’s founder, the Arabic scholar Robert Huntington, who discovered it in Aleppo in the 17th century. As Joel Kraemer notes, in his highly recommended biography of Maimonides¹, Huntington had also discovered an autograph edition of Maimonides’ “Commentary on the Mishna”. As this is likewise being stored at Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, let us hope that their online publication of the Mishne Torah is just the beginning, and that we soon see Maimonides’ first major work made publicly available as well.

[Hat-tip: Hagahot]

¹ Joel L. Kraemer, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds (New York: Doubleday, 2008), 169.

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