Translating the Hebrew Bible in Medieval Iberia

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hunt. 268


Translating the Hebrew Bible in Medieval Iberia provides the princeps diplomatic edition and a comprehensive study of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hunt. 268. The manuscript, produced in the Iberian Peninsula in the late thirteenth century, features a biblical glossary-commentary in Hebrew that includes 2,018 glosses in the vernacular and 156 in Arabic, and to date is the only manuscript of these characteristics known to have been produced in this region.

Esperanza Alfonso has edited the text and presents here a study of it, examining its pedagogical function, its sources, its exegetical content, and its extraordinary value for the study of biblical translation in the Iberian Peninsula and in the Sephardic Diaspora. Javier del Barco provides a detailed linguistic study and a glossary of the corpus of vernacular glosses.

For a version with a list of corrections and additions, see
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Esperanza Alfonso, Ph.D. (1998, Universidad Complutense, Madrid) is Researcher at the Center for Human and Social Sciences (CSIC). She has published monographs and collective works in the field of medieval Jewish cultural history.

Javier del Barco, Ph.D. (2001, Universidad Complutense, Madrid) is Researcher at the Center for Human and Social Sciences (CSIC). He has published monographs and articles on various aspects of Hebrew linguistics, medieval Jewish manuscript culture, and Hebrew codicology.
Signs and Abbreviations
Notes on Transliteration, Conventions, Translation, and Sources

Part 1 Introduction


1 The Codex
 1.1 Binding, Foliation, and Condition
 1.2 Dimensions and Quires
 1.3 Catchwords and Numbering of Sections
 1.4 Margins and Justification
 1.5 Script and Layout
 1.6 The Text, Sections, and Subdivisions
 1.7 Errors and Later Interventions
 1.8 Punctuation
 1.9 Vocalization, Accents, and Other Kinds of Marks
 1.10 The Books
 1.11 Internal and External Cross-References
 1.12 Differences between the Books
 1.13 Dating
 1.14 Previous References to the Codex

2 The Text
 2.1 Glosses, Glossaries, and Commentaries: Preliminary Considerations
 2.2 The Lemmata
 2.3 Leʿazim
 2.4 The Commentary
 2.5 Glossary-Commentary

3 Grammar
 3.1 Norm and Explanation of Anomalous or Unusual Grammatical Forms
 3.2 Terms with Multiple Uses
 3.3 Orthography and Phonology
 3.4 Morphosyntax

4 Exegesis
 4.1 Interpreting the Lemma versus Interpreting the Verse, Passage, or Book
 4.2 The Context
 4.3 Literal or Surface Meaning as Opposed to Figurative Meaning

5 Sources
 5.1 Judah Ḥayyūj, Jonah ibn Janāḥ, Judah ibn Balʿam, Solomon ibn Gabirol, and Abraham ibn Ezra
 5.2 Saadiah Gaon
 5.3 Rashi
 5.4 David Kimhi
 5.5 Single Interpretations versus Alternate Interpretations, Selecting versus Synthesizing
 5.6 The Integration of Sources
 5.7 Cultural Background

6 MS Hunt. 268 and Vernacular Translations of the Hebrew Bible
 6.1 Romanceamientos and Ladinamientos
 6.2 Jb 1–10 in MS Hunt. 268 and the Medieval and Post-medieval Traditions

7 Linguistic Study of Leʿazim
 7.1 Orthography and Phonology
 7.2 Morphology
 7.3 Syntax
 7.4 Lexical Remarks
 7.5 Conclusions

Index of Names and Places

Part 2 Edition

The Present Edition


Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Hunt. 268

Anyone interested in medieval biblical exegesis, the history of Bible translation, the study of Ibero-Romance languages, and medieval Jewish cultural history in general.
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