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Publication Detail
The astrological and calendar section of the earliest Mahzor Vitry manuscript (MS ex-Sassoon 535)
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Stern SD, Isserles J
  • Publisher:
    Indiana University Press
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    199, 318
  • Journal:
    ALEPH: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Keywords:
    calendar, Jewish, Mahzor Vitry, astrology, Jewish
The earliest known Maḥzor Vitry manuscript, MS ex-Sassoon 535, comprises a section with astrological and calendar texts that are the earliest to appear in any extant manuscript from Franco-Germany. The text, of which the main part is an almost complete Jewish calendar treatise, is edited in this article with a translation. The introduction to the article includes a description of the manuscript, an explanatory summary of the contents, and some general comments on the arithmetic content of the calendar treatise and on its Talmudic and other rabbinic citations. The calendar treatise is marred with textual errors, some of which indicate that it was a copy of a copy of the original. On the basis of the calendrical data and palaeographical and codicological criteria, the earliest date for the composition of the calendar treatise can be established as 1123/4, whereas the latest date for the present manuscript is 1154/5, which shows that this treatise must have been copied more than once in a relatively short period. This treatise is clearly distinct from the contemporary calendar treatises of Jacob b. Samson (1123/4) and Samuel b. Meir (Rashbam, 1129/30), and lends further evidence of a developing interest in Jewish calendar computation in early 12th-century northern France, particularly within the circle of Rashi’s school.
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