Synopses & Reviews
In this beautifully illustrated book, historian Marc Michael Epstein explores four magnificent and enigmatic illuminated haggadotand#8212;manuscripts created for use at home services on Passover. They include the earliest known surviving illuminated haggadah: the Birds' Head Haggadah, made in Mainz around 1300, in which many of the faces on the human figures depicted throughout are replaced with those of birds. Also presented is the Golden Haggadah from Barcelona, c. 1320-30, along with two Spanish "siblings," the Rylands Haggadah and its purported Brother, made between 1330 and 1340, which share similar iconography and style.
Though the importance of these manuscripts is universally acknowledged, Epstein examines them with fresh and creative eyes, offering insightful solutions to long-unresolved questions concerning the meaning of the art contained within them. In addition, he uses these treasured volumes as a springboard to address broader issues in the study of Jewish thought and culture.
"This is an outstanding study of the medieval Haggadah . . . a work all academic libraries should purchase."and#8212;S.T. Katz, Choice
and#8220;Historian Marc Michael Epstein explores four illuminated haggadot . . . Though the importance of these manuscripts is universally acandshy;knowledged, Epstein examines them with solutions to long-unresolved questions concerning the meaning of the art contained within them.and#8221;and#8212;Shofar
"A dazzling analysis. . . . The Medieval Haggadah shows with remarkable sophistication and an acute visual sense how those who commissioned, produced the blueprint for, and illuminated four medieval haggadot, or books for use at the Passover ceremony, did much more than illustrate the story of the Exodus, creating, rather, complex statements about the role and place of Jews in the society of the time, as well as producing remarkable works of art."and#8212;Gabriel Josipovici, The Times Literary Supplement (Books of the Year)
About the Author
Marc Michael Epstein is professor of religion at Vassar College.