Scribe and Owner as Artist in a Sixteenth-Century Yiddish Miscellany

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Abstract

A Miscellany of five secular Yiddish chapbooks was created in late sixteenth-century East Swabia. Two of the chapbooks, “Keyser Oktavian” and a collection of “mayses”, were illustrated by their scribe Yitzhak bar Yuda Reutlingen. A Jewish owner also drew on a blank folio. This essay seeks to address two issues. First, although in the past these drawings have often been dismissed as derivative or crude, this article will dispute this assertion. Then this essay will question the ways in which some scholars have masked the manuscript’s Jewish identity, and will explore how the scribe and owner express the distinctly Jewish nature of the Miscellany through their drawings.

Scribe and Owner as Artist in a Sixteenth-Century Yiddish Miscellany

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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Lian Jousting, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 64.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Susannah and the Elders, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 87.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Empress Pleading for Her Life, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 3.
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    Unknown German artist, Empress Pleading for Her Life, Ein schöne und kurtzweylige Histori von Keyser Octaviano, seiner Weyb und ... Augsburg, before 1469. Vatican Apostolic Library, Stamp. Pal. V. 832. (int.1).
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Florenis Trades Oxen for a Falcon, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 13.
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    Unknown German artist, Florens Trades Oxen for a Falcon, Ein schöne und kurtzweylige Histori von Keyser Octaviano, seiner Weyb und ... Augsburg, before 1469. Vatican Apostolic Library, Stamp. Pal. V. 832. (int.1).
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Florenis Stabbing a Giant, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 28v.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Lion Attacking Sultan During Battle, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 61r.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Florenis abducting His Beloved, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 32v.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Florenis and His Beloved on Route to Paris, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 55v.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, King Knighting Florenis, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 39.
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    Unknown German artist, King Knighting (sic) Florens, Ein schöne und kurtzweylige Histori von Keyser Octaviano, seiner Weyb und ... Augsburg, before 1469. Vatican Apostolic Library, Stamp. Pal. V. 832. (int.1).
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, King Receiving Messenger, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 23r.
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    Unknown German artist, King Receiving Messenger, Ein schöne und kurtzweylige Histori von Keyser Octaviano, seiner Weyb und ... Augsburg, before 1469. Vatican Apostolic Library, Stamp. Pal. V. 832. (int.1).
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    Unknown German artist, Lyon Jousting, Ein schöne und kurtzweylige Histori von Keyser Octaviano, seiner Weyb und ... Augsburg, before 1469. Vatican Apostolic Library, Stamp. Pal. V. 832. (int.1).
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    Unknown artist, Dancing on Shabbat Nahamu, Book of Customs (Sefer Minhagim), Northern Italy, ca 1503. Paris, Bib. Nat. Héb. 586, ca. 1503. Credit: Bibliothèque nationale de France.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Hunt Scene, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 73a verso.
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    Yitzhak bar Yudah Reutlingen, Shabbes Miracle, Keyser Oktavian, Miscellany, 1580. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Cod. hebr. 100, fol. 80.

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