July 2015 | Nate Pedersen

The British Library to Digitize Hebrew Manuscripts

Over 2,000 Hebrew manuscripts held at The British Library will be digitized and made freely available online thanks to a new partnership with the National Library of Israel. The manuscripts date from the Middle Ages through the 19th century and include some of the most important previously unpublished Hebrew documents in existence.

Notable among the manuscripts slated for digitization are the First Gaster Bible, c. 10th century (pictured above), the Second Gaster bible, c. 11th - 12th century, a daily prayer book decorated in Italy in the 15th century, a festival prayer book from 15th century Provence, as well as a variety of Judeo-Persian handwritten books. Many of the manuscripts are richly illustrated.

The digitized copies will be accessible on a website run by The National Library of Israel.  The institution hopes to build online a significant digital library of Hebrew manuscripts, drawing on digitized manuscripts from repositories around the world.

The British Library's Chief Executive, Roly Keating, said "Hebrew manuscripts are one of the great strengths of the British Library's vast collections, so we are delighted to be working with our counterparts at the National Library of Israel to make these remarkable manuscripts available online."

[Image from The British Library]