287-year-old Hebrew manuscript goes on sale

November 22, 2013

A 287-year-old manuscript handwritten in Hebrew and found in a cardboard box in a North Manchester garage, is to be auctioned this morning. The 18th Century richly illuminated Haggadah, used by Jews during the first two nights of Passover, is expected to fetch a six-figure sum at Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Macclesfield when it goes under the hammer in a major sale of antique Jewish books and silver.

Historian Dr Yaakov Wise, from the University of Manchester's Centre for Jewish Studies, is an expert in Haggadot and other ancient Jewish . Dr Wise helped identify and describe many of the ritual objects going under the hammer tomorrow. These include a solid silver etrog (citron) box, a rare kabbalistic signet ring, an early 19th century Scroll of Esther written on goatskin in the Yemen and sacred books, some dating back to the 16th century.

The handwritten text painted on goatskin vellum, was spotted at the home of a Jewish family who were clearing out unwanted goods from their Bury garage. The Haggadah tells the story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt and has been recited in Jewish homes annually for over 3,000 years. It dates back to 1726, and was created by the leading Jewish scribe of the time Aaron Wolf Herlingon, who later became the curator of Hebrew manuscripts at the Imperial Library in Vienna.

He said: "This amazing manuscript apparently arrived in Britain with refugees after it was smuggled out of Belgium at the beginning of World War II. It is a very rare example of a heavily ornate and superbly illustrated manuscript, made for the Oppenheimers who were private bankers to the Emperors of Austria. A later member of the family married a Rothschild and the Haggadah moved across Europe to France and then to Belgium.

"A similar Haggadah by the same scribe achieved $408,000 (£255,000) at auction in New York. This is the most important Haggadah to be found in the UK after the 'Rylands Haggadah' which is oldest Haggadah in Europe, from 13th century Spain, and is held within the special collections of the University's John Rylands Library. Last year the Rylands Haggadah went on a tour of the USA where it attracted large crowds at several museums."

Explore further: Text of Jewish exorcism discovered

Related Stories

Text of Jewish exorcism discovered

December 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A rare - and possibly unique - text describing a Jewish exorcism has been discovered by a scholar of medieval Jewish studies.

Rare manuscript by Italian master found

July 11, 2013

A University of Manchester academic has discovered an important and previously unknown manuscript by one of the medieval period's greatest thinkers, who was born 700 years ago this year.

Israeli library uploads Newton's theological texts

February 15, 2012

He's considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Sir Isaac Newton was also an influential theologian who applied a scientific approach to the study of scripture, Hebrew and Jewish mysticism.

Illustrious Jewish roots of Tory leader revealed

July 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- David Cameron’s Jewish history goes back hundreds - if not thousands - of years, according to a University of Manchester historian. Dr Yaakov Wise, who specialises in Jewish history, says the Tory leader ...

Recommended for you

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(Phys.org)—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...

Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia

October 26, 2016

(Phys.org)—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes ...

Ancient burials suggestive of blood feuds

October 24, 2016

There is significant variation in how different cultures over time have dealt with the dead. Yet, at a very basic level, funerals in the Sonoran Desert thousands of years ago were similar to what they are today. Bodies of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.