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Annett Martini

Abstract

The objective of this article is to outline a hitherto neglected aspect of writing holy scrolls for ritual use, which in medieval Europe became a crucial subject of discussion: the ritual consecration of certain processes during the manufacturing of STaM with a special emphasis on writable skins. Taking into account Jewish and Christian sources, many of which have not been scrutinized to date, a paradox that perfectly reflects the ambivalent relationship of Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages will be revealed. On the one hand, the ritual sanctification can be read as an act of demarcation by which Jews drew a clear line between holy and profane—and Jews and non-Jews. On the other hand, it becomes evident that there was not only an artisanal exchange but a mutual interaction in terms of ritual and performance as well.

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Annett Martini

Abstract

One of the most original facets of Yosef Giqaṭilla’s mystical concept is his approach to the symbolical meaning of the Hebrew vowels. Throughout his life, he wrote several treatises about this subject, which deal with the Hebrew vowels as fundamental elements within Creation and the structure of the cosmos. About three hundred years later, the Italian kabbalist Mordekhay Dato wrote a commentary on the Secrets of the Vowels which actually is an interpretation of the poems written by Giqaṭilla in order to condense his theses about the Hebrew vowels. The present paper explores the following questions: (1) From where did Dato derive the seven poems, which, on the one hand, are part of Giqaṭilla’s discussion about the vowels, but on the other, have been transmitted separately? (2) Did Dato know their original context? (3) In what way does his interpretation of these verses differ from Giqaṭilla’s?