StorageSiteUCL Special Collections
Reference Number MS MOCATTA/1
TitleHaggadah (Sephardic)
Date[Early 14th century]
DescriptionManuscript Haggadah, for Passover Eve: Jewish order of service for domestic use. On the upper and lower, as well as side margins are excerpts from Midrashim, and some prayers. Folios 12v to 50v contain the Hebrew text of Song of Songs, Ruth and Ecclesiastes, followed by the Torah reading for the first day of Passover (Exodus 12: 21-51).

Haggadot from the 13th-15th centuries were often richly illuminated, but micrography in these and other service books is rare and more commonly found in Hebrew Bibles of the same period. Micrography in Hebrew Bibles often takes the form of a commentary on the main text, but in the case of this Haggadah the micrographic text comes from various sources. Some, although not all, are relevant to Passover but it does not seem to form a deliberate commentary. Other manuscripts with micrography show evidence of greater skill, so it has been suggested that this is an early attempt by the scribe at producing a single manuscript themselves. Otherwise, it was common in the medieval period for both Jewish and Western manuscripts to be produced by several different people โ€“ a scribe, an illuminator, an illustrator, a rubricator, etc.
Extent1 volume containing 58 folios
AdminHistoryProduced in the first half of the 14th century, probably in Castile, it is made of parchment and richly decorated in ink, gouache, and silver and gold leaf. This item is notable for the use of micrographic text, the minute decorative text found throughout the manuscript. The micrography, and indeed the entire manuscript, may have been the work of a scribe known as Jacob, who was active in Barcelona in the second quarter of the 14th century and is believed to be the scribe of several other important Jewish service books, including the Rylands Haggadah.
CustodialHistoryFrom the library of Frederic David Mocatta, deposited in 1905 by the Jewish Historical Society. Formerly held with other Jewish collections in the Mocatta Library of University College London.
AcquisitionTransferred from the Mocatta Library (subsequently the Jewish Studies Library) of University College London.
AccessStatusRestricted access
AccessConditionsAccess to this item is restricted. Please enquire for further information.
Related MaterialUniversity College London Special Collections also holds various other prayer books (Ref: MS MOCATTA 2, 4, 7-10, 12, 18, 23, 25, 35, 72, 75, 76).
FindingAidsReginald Arthur Rye, 'Catalogue of the Printed Books and Manuscripts forming the library of F D Mocatta' (Harrison & Sons, London, 1904), 424-5.
PublnNoteMore detailed descriptions of this Haggadah and illustrations of the manuscript are given in 'Convivencia: Jews, Muslims and Christians in Medieval Spain', ed V Mann, T Glick and J Dodds (New York, 1992), p 192, and Leila Avrin, 'The Mocatta Haggadah and Other Works by the Master of the Catalan Mahzor' in 'Hebrew Studies: Papers Presented at a Colloquium on Resources for Hebraica in Europe' ed Diana Rowland Smith and Peter Shmuel Salinger (London, 1991), p 139-148.
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