The Ancient Sefer Torah of Bologna

Features and History. European Genizah Texts and Studies, Volume Four


Editor: Mauro Perani
The Ancient Sefer Torah of Bologna: Features and History contains studies on the most ancient, complete Pentateuch scroll known to date. It was considered in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as the archetypal autograph written by Ezra the Scribe. The scroll was rediscovered by Mauro Perani in 2013 at the University Library of Bologna. In this volume, leading specialists study the history, textual and material features, and different halakhot or norms to copy a Sefer Torah, as adopted in the pre-Maimonidean scrolls. The Hebrew text is very close to the Aleppo codex, and the scroll was probably copied in Northern Iberia in ca. 1200 CE. The scroll contains letters with special shapes and tagin linking its production with a Jewish milieu which associated the scribal tradition with mystical and esoteric meanings. Besides its codicological and palaeographical interest, the "Ezra scroll" has been preserved for centuries among the treasures of the Dominican convent of San Domenico in Bologna and, in the early modern period, it was the object of reverence and curiosity among the Christians, before being almost entirely forgotten after its confiscation by the French revolutionary troops. This volume presents a detailed overview of the fascinating history and the peculiar makings of this remarkable artefact.

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Biographical Note
Mauro Perani, Ph.D. honoris causa (2013), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is Full Professor of Hebrew at the Bologna University, former President (2006-2010) of the European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS) and President of the Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo (AISG) from 2003 to present.
Table of contents

Part 1: History and Vicissitudes of the Bologna Ancient Sefer Torah

1 The Many Lives of the ‘Bible of Esdras’: Proposals for a Long-term Investigation
Rita De Tata

2 The “Ezra Scroll” of Bologna: Vicissitudes of an Archetype between Memory and Oblivion
Saverio Campanini

Part 2: Writing, Textual and Paratextual Features of the Bologna Scroll

3 Textual and Para-textual Devices of the Ancient Proto-Sephardic Bologna Torah Scroll
Mauro Perani

4 The Making of the Bologna Scroll: Palaeography and Scribal Traditions
Judith Olszowy-Schlanger

5 The 12th–13th Century Torah Scroll in Bologna: How It Differs from Contemporary Scrolls
Jordan S. Penkower

Part 3: Comparison with Other Ancient Sifre Torah

6 The Sefer Torah of Biella: History of the Unearthing and Initial Investigations
Amedeo Spagnoletto

7 Criteria for Dating the Sefer Torah Meran 1 and Its Peculiar System of Otiyyot Meshunnot
Josef M. Oesch and Franz D. Hubmann

8 The Torah Scroll Fragment from the Parochial Archives in Romont (Switzerland)
Justine Isserles, Josef M. Oesch and Franz D. Hubmann
All scholars and people interested in the history of how the scribes copied the Sefer Torah.
Index Card
Collection Information