Manuscript on paper
7.8 × 5.7 × 0.7 in. (20 × 14.5 × 2 cm)
Not on view
This example of Sefer Keritut was written by the Cretan scribe Abraham ben Judah in a Byzantine script and contains explanations about Talmudic methodology in understanding the Hebrew Bible. It was originally authored by the sage and Talmudic commentator Rabbi Samson ben Isaac of Chinon (ca. 1260–1330). This particular manuscript is significant both because it can be dated to the late 1300s and it is complete. There are only five surviving manuscripts of Sefer Keritut that date from this time, and most of the other examples are incomplete. The scribe, Abraham ben Judah of Crete, is known from another manuscript at the Bodleian Library, ms. Hunt. 561, which is dated 1374/5.
Copied in the late 1300s by Abraham ben Judah. Acquired before 1900 by Solomon Joachim Halberstam; Purchased between 1891 and 1896 by the Judith Lady Montefiore College, Ramsgate, England (later the Montefiore Endowment Committee); Purchased at auction in 2004 by an unknown owner. Acquired before 2019 by Les Enluminures; Purchased in 2019 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2021 to The Signatry, Overland Park, Kansas, under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.
Notes:  While the manuscript is not dated, based on the watermarks and another manuscript by the same scribe dated 1374–1375 (Hebrew year 5135), it can be dated to the late 1300s. The scribe’s name, Abraham ben Judah, is indicated throughout the text, and he signed his name in the colophon and wrote an inscription.  This manuscript was included in Solomon Joachim Halberstam’s catalog as ms. no. 101.  The purchase was completed by Rabbi Moses Gaster, principal of the college, the manuscript also contains the stamp of the college on the first and final folios. Between 1898 and 2001, this manuscript was placed on permanent loan at Jew’s College in London, England. Upon the manuscript’s return in 2001, Judith Lady Montefiore College was closed, and the manuscript returned to the Montefiore Endowment Committee.  Sotheby’s, New York, Important Manuscripts from the Montefiore Endowment, October 27 & 28, 2004, Lot 147.
Hartwig Hirschfeld, Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts of the Montefiore Library (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1904), 46 (MS 157).