• Short Summary

    Scholars and members of the public in Jerusalem on Sunday (16 November) had the chance to see the products of the most costly sale of manuscripts ever made.

  • Description

    GV & SV National & Hebrew University Library (2 shots)

    SV PAN People look at Samaritan bible in showcase and CU (3 shots)

    SV & CU Man takes notes over Pentateuch and double page (2 shots)

    SV PAN Visitors looking at exhibits

    GV & CU Damascus Crown (handwritten in Hebrew)(2 shots)

    SV & CU Man opening Maimonides Third Order of Mishnah with author's handwritten correction inside page (2 shots)

    GV Isaiah Ben Mali of Trani commentary PAN TO CU of illumination in Avignon Haggadah

    LS Hebrew University campus at Givat Ram

    Sign: National and Hebrew University Library

    Various of the Samaritan Pentateuch/on display shot of a doublepage of same, acquired by the Hebrew University from a donor about three years ago shot of the doublepage and the Samaritan Pentateuch together in the showcase

    Various of the Damascus Crown 2(pentateuch) which handwritten in Hebrew and oldest known pentateuch in bookform

    Various of Maimonides third order of Mishnah written in the author's handwriting with some passages extensively revised by him,

    CU one of these corrections written on side of page the book closed and being opened

    Isaiah Ben Mali of Trani commentary on certain tractates of the Ba-bylonian Talmud PAN TO Avignon Haggadah and ZOOM IN TO illumination Various shots of people looking at the exhibits and receiving explanations"

    Initials BB/1655 TA/MC/BB/1711

    H U press release attached; it has full details of the items shown on film.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Scholars and members of the public in Jerusalem on Sunday (16 November) had the chance to see the products of the most costly sale of manuscripts ever made.

    Eight items worth 1.2 million dollars (about GBP600,000 sterling) were on show at Jerusalem's Jewish National and University Library -- the lion's share of an auction in Zurich, Switzerland, recently of the Sassoon family collection. Sir John Carr of London's Sotheby's firm conducted the auction which earned a record 2.1 million dollars (about GBP1.50 million sterling) for the Sassoon family.

    The State of Israel bought the manuscripts -- partly by public subscription -- for the Library.

    Scholars will have pleased by one piece of luck. One of the items, a 13th century Samaritan bible, and had the front and back leaves missing. But the late oriental Professor A.S. Yahuda acquired two such leaves earlier this century and on his death they were bequeathed to the Hebrew University. The result is that the two leaves have hove now been joined to original.

    The most expensive items are the second and third orders of the Mishnah with a commentary in Judaeo-Arabic by Moses Maimonides the Rambam (1135-1204). The commentary is believed to have been published in Cairo, Egypt about 1160 and to be written in the author's handwriting. The two volumes are in Spanish rabbinic and cursive script.

    The Damascus Keter or Crown Torah is the largest book in the exhibition -- 458 pages long. David S. Sassoon who bought it in 1914 from the leaders of the Jewish community in Damascus, Syria, asserted in his "Ohel David" that the manuscript was written in Babylon in the 9th century, but Hebrew University scholars consider it to be of Palestinian origin and written in the 10th century.

    Eight of the most treasured items of the Sasson collection of Hebrew and Samaritan manuscripts were acquired by the State of Israel for the National and Hebrew University Library in Jerusalem at a recent auction in Zurich. Sir John Carr of Sotheby's conducted the auction which turned out to be a record for any public sale of manuscripts when it netted the Sasson family $ 2.1 million. Of this the Israel government through its agents spent $ 1.2 million, $ 470.000.- for the Maimonides Mishnah, $ 425.000- for the Damascus Crown Pentateuch, and $ 225.000- for the Passover Haggadah (Book read on Passover telling the tale of the Exodus of the Children of Israel for bondage in Egypt). 250 agents and collectors took part in the auction. For further info see press-release attached.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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