David Stern, Christoph Markschies, and Sarit Shalev-Eyni, eds.
The Monk's Haggadah
A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee
Penn State University Press 2015
New Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Biblical StudiesNew Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in Jewish StudiesNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network April 20, 2016 Bernice Heilbrunn
The Monk’s Haggadah: A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee (Penn State UP, 2015) is unique. The book, edited by David Stern, Christoph Markschies, and Sarit Shalev-Eyni, combines a gorgeous facsimile of a late 15th-century illuminated haggadah with a Latin prologue written by a Dominican Friar! Mystery abounds as a Jewish Passover text, written in Hebrew by a Jewish scribe, is found to include illustrations of Christian significance. Thanks to a special collaboration of multi-disciplinary experts from three continents and an element of serendipity, the manuscript of a haggadah from the 15th century, now at home in a state library in Munich, was discovered, translated, and its importance as a primary source for Christian Jewish relations during the late medieval and early modern period recognized.The prologue by fifteen-century Dominican Hebraist Erhard von Pappenheim includes the testimony of Jews tortured to testify to blood libel in 1475 in Trent. Recorded by von Pappenheim in a matter-of-fact tone, as though by an ethnographer, the testimony also becomes a primary source for Jewish ritual practice during this period in German lands. It also speaks to Christian understanding of Jewish ritual and tradition.Read the essays in this special volume for the thoughtful questions that the experts raise and address. Turn the pages of the Haggadah to experience its beauty.
During the interview we also discussed The Washington Haggadah (Harvard University Press, 2011), edited by David Stern. This elegant reproduction of the most beautiful haggadah in the collection of the Library of Congress in Washington reflects the work of the late 15th century southern German illustrator Joel ben Simeon. The illuminations that adorn the text are an ethnographers dream: they evidence the home ritual practices of the era and place. When the book was displayed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, objects from the Museums collection that are reflected on the pages of the haggadah accompanied the display. Essays by David Stern and art historian Katrin Kogman-Apel accompany the text of the Passover haggadah, providing a history of the haggadah for interested readers.