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Una introduccin a la historia

de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad*


The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad:
An Introduction*
David Stern
Universidad de Pensilvania, Filadelfia
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

* Este ensayo es una versin simplificada de otro ms


extenso, y con un mayor nmero de notas, que aparecer en 2012 (Stern en prensa). Aqu las notas se han
reducido al mnimo con el objeto de hacer el texto accesible al lector no especialista. Quien est interesado
podr encontrar en la versin larga referencias a las
fuentes primarias y a la literatura especializada sobre
los temas que aqu se abordan.

* This essay draws upon a much lengthier and heavily

oS libros hebreos que los judos de Sefarad produjeron durante la Edad Media
constituyen uno de los logros culturales
ms importantes de la historia juda. A partir
del s. xII, y es posible que incluso antes, los judos de la Pennsula Ibrica copiaron, decoraron e iluminaron manuscritos hebreos de todo
tipo (obras legales, libros de oracin destinados
al uso litrgico, de poesa y belles-lettres, filosofa, homiltica, e incluso ciencia). La mayor parte de estas obras se redactaron originariamente

HE Hebrew books produced by Sephardic


Jewry in the Middle Ages constitute one
of the great cultural achievements in Jewish history. From the late twelfth century on,
and probably even earlier, Iberian Jews wrote,
decorated, and illuminated Hebrew manuscripts
of all kindslegal works, prayer and other liturgical books, poetry and belles-lettres, philosophical, homiletical, even scientific works. Most of
these works were originally composed in Hebrew, but many others were written in Judaeo-

annotated article which will be published in 2012 (Stern


forthcoming). In order to keep this essay accessible to
a lay audience, I have limited the number of endnotes.
Readers interested in primary sources and scholarship
on all the issues raised in the present essay should consult the longer study.

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en hebreo, pero muchas otras fueron escritas en


judeo-rabe, y algunas traducidas del rabe o
del latn. Muchas de ellas fueron adems decoradas e ilustradas, en ocasiones magnficamente. Tradicionalmente, dos gneros han destacado por su excepcionalidad en el extraordinario
conjunto de libros producidos en la Pennsula
Ibrica: la Biblia hebrea y la Haggadah. Las haggadot sefardes se han estudiado en detalle, y han
formado parte de muchas exposiciones. Frente
a esas exposiciones, la que aqu nos ocupa se centra en la Biblia y obras auxiliares a su lectura y
estudio: comentarios bblicos, gramticas del hebreo bblico, y otras obras de tipo parafrstico.
En este ensayo me propongo esbozar las lneas
fundamentales de la historia de la Biblia hebrea
en Sefarad, desarrollando algn aspecto de carcter ms general relacionado con ella.
En la Edad Media, la Biblia he1
En hebreo brea adopt en la cultura juda dos
medieval y formatos distintos: el de rollo y el de
moderno, la palabra
cdice, en cada caso resultado de una
sefer significa libro.
larga trayectoria. Empezaremos por
En la Biblia,
sin embargo, el primero de ellos, el Sefer Torah
1
la palabra connota (pl. Sifre Torah, rollo de la Torah) .
Se podra decir que el Sefer
cualquier tipo
de comunicacin Torah es el formato ms tradicioescrita, y se usa nal de libro en la historia de la culcon frecuencia tura occidental. En la Antigedad,
para designar rollos,
el formato de libro ms comn
un uso que
era el rollo, que era de papiro y, en
se mantiene en
la actualidad por ocasiones, de piel. La forma matelo que respecta al rial del rollo fue uno de los logros
rollo de la Torah. del mundo antiguo, y tras el Sefer
Torah tal y como lo conocemos hoy
(un rollo nico de gran formato) hay una larga
historia de estabilizacin textual y evolucin de
la tcnica de escritura. Esa historia incluye la transicin del papiro a la piel, y de esta al pergamino,
el desarrollo de las tcnicas de tinte y cosido, la

David Stern

Arabic, and some were translated from Arabic


or Latin. And many of these books were decorated and illustrated, some fabulously. Among
all the extraordinary books produced in the Iberian Peninsula, two genres have traditionally been
recognized as truly exceptional: the Hebrew Bible
and the Haggadah. Sephardic haggadot have extensively been studied and frequently displayed
in exhibitions. The present exhibition is devoted to the Bible and its ancillary compositions
Bible commentaries, grammars of biblical Hebrew, and other paraphrastic works. In the
present essay, I will sketch out the main contours of the history of the Hebrew Bible in
Sepharad and discuss some of the larger issues
connected to its history.
By the Middle Ages, the Hebrew Bible existed in Jewish culture in two distinct material
forms: as a scroll and as a codex, each of which
has its own lengthy history.
We will begin with the Sefer 1
In medieval and
Torah (pl. Sifre Torah, Torah scroll).1
modern Hebrew,
The Sefer Torah is, arguably, the the word sefer
single most traditional book-form connotes a book.
in the history of Western culture. In the Bible,
In antiquity, the most common however, it
book-form was that of the scroll, originally
usually written on papyrus or, connotes any
sometimes, leather. Its form goes type of written
communication
back to some of the earliest reachand is typically
es of the ancient world, and behind used to designate
the Sefer Torah as we know it to- scrolls, a usage
daya single monumental scroll which continues
lies a lengthy history of textual sta- to be used even
bilization and scribal technology. today in respect to
This history includes the transi- the Torah scroll.
tion from papyrus to leather to
parchment, the development of modes of tanning; sewing; the history of Hebrew script, and
the development of the scribal conventions that

evolucin de la grafa hebrea y el desarrollo de


las convenciones escriturarias que determinan la
manera en la que se ha de escribir el texto del Pentateuco. En el mundo antiguo, donde la mayor
parte de los rollos eran de una longitud relativamente moderada, el Sefer Torah se compona en
origen de cinco rollos, uno por libro, denominados omashim (sing. omesh). El rollo nico, de
gran formato, que incluye todo el Pentateuco, tal
y como lo conocemos hoy, solo aparece a finales
del periodo rabnico clsico. En esa poca la produccin del Sefer Torah estaba ya sujeta, de acuerdo con la halakhah (ley rabnica), a una serie de
exigencias legales, virtualmente rituales. De ese
modo, y segn dictaba la normativa, el Sefer Torah
deba ir escrito en letra cuadrada asiria usando una
tinta especial sobre cierto tipo de pergamino, cosido con determinados tipos de hilo, con un nmero especfico de lneas por columna, dejando
determinados espacios entre las secciones, y disponiendo ciertos pasajes de manera especial.
Ni siquiera los rabinos del periodo clsico llegaron a ponerse completamente de acuerdo sobre esta normativa, de modo que en los distintos
centros judos de la Edad Media se fueron desarrollando, con diferencias mnimas, distintas tradiciones textuales y escriturarias para la produccin de los Sifre Torah. En la lm. 1 se puede
observar un Sefer Torah copiado en Calahorra o
en Tudela en los ss. xIv o xv, escrito en la tpica
grafa sefard cuadrada. Los Sifre Torah y los cdices bblicos sefardes se distinguan por su exactitud, fruto esta de la destreza de los copistas judos sefardes y de la predileccin que la cultura
juda de la Pennsula Ibrica haba tenido siempre por el hebreo bblico, como pone de manifiesto la tradicin lingstica y filolgica que se
remonta a figuras como Jud ayy y Yonah
ibn an, a finales del s. x y a lo largo del
s. xI (Sarna 1971, 329331 y 345346). Fuentes

determine how the text of the Pentateuch is to


be written. In the ancient world, most scrolls
were of relatively moderate length, and a complete Sefer Torah was originally five separate
scrolls, called omashim (sing. omesh), one per
biblical book. only by the end of the classical
rabbinic period had the single monumental scroll
containing the entire Pentateuch come into existence, and by this time the production of the
Sefer Torah was governed according to halakhah
(rabbinic law) by detailed legal, virtually ritualistic requirements. Thus, a kosher Torah
scroll had to be written in square Assyrian letters in a special type of ink on a certain type
of parchment, sewn together with particular
types of threads, with a certain number of lines
per column, with prescribed spaces between
sections, and with certain passages laid out in
special formats.
There was never complete agreement even
among rabbinic sages on these various requirements, and there eventually developed differentalbeit usually minortextual and scribal
traditions for writing Sifre Torah in different
Jewish centers in the Middle Ages. Fig. 1 pictures a Sefer Torah, written either in Calahorra
or Tudela in the fourteenth or fifteenth century; the text is written in a typical Sephardic
square script. Sephardic Sifre Torah and Bible
codices were especially famous for their accuracy, both because Sephardic scribes were especially known for their skill as copyists as well
as on account of a native proclivity in Iberian
Jewish culture for biblical Hebrew as evidenced
in the linguistic and philological studies going
back to such figures as Judah ayyj and Jonah
ibn Jan in the late tenth and early eleventh
centuries (Sarna 1971, 329331, 345346). Tenthcentury sources already refer to the accurate
and ancient Sephardic and Tiberian Bibles,

Una introduccin a la historia de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad | The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction

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Lm. 1 / Fig. 1.
Sefer Torah, fragmento. Sefer Torah, fragment.
Calahorra, Archivo catedralicio y diocesano de Calahorra y La Calzada, S/Sign.
Archivo catedralicio y diocesano de Calahorra y La Calzada.

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del s. x hacen ya referencia a las antiguas y muy


correctas biblias de Sefarad y Tiberias (Stern
1870) 2 cuya excelencia llega a re2
As aparecen
conocerse incluso en Ashkenaz.
en N. Sarna,
Introductory As, Meir de Rothenberg (finales
Remarks en del s. xIII) menciona la superioriHaggahot dad y exactitud de los libros de SeMaimuniyyot farad, y a finales del s. xIII el talmu[Glosas a dista Menaem ben Salomn Meiri
Maimnides] (Perpin, 12491316) menciona a
(Mishneh Torah 8,
un rabino alemn que se diriga a ToHikhot Sefer
ledo para adquirir all un cdice del
Torah 2, 4).
Pentateuco copiado de un rollo de
la Torah escrito por el famoso Meir ha-Levi
Abulafia en Toledo para usar ese cdice sefard
como modelo a la hora de escribir Sifre Torah en
Ashkenaz (!) (Hirschler 1996, 48).
En la Edad Media, el Sefer Torah haba pasado ya a ser, ante todo, un artefacto litrgico,
usado para leer en voz alta el texto bblico y cantarlo en pblico en la sinagoga a lo largo de un
ciclo anual de lecturas semanales. No era este
un libro en el sentido ordinario del trmino. En
cuanto que rollo ritual, estaba sujeto a una serie
de normas que no solo gobernaban su produccin, sino tambin su uso y manipulacin, como si de un algn tipo de sanctum, u objeto sagrado, se tratase. Se desconoce cuntos Sifre Torah
existieron, o cuntas comunidades judas disponan de uno propio. Un rollo de la Torah de gran
formato era un objeto extraordinariamente caro. A partir de un responsum de Maimnides
(Moiss ben Maimn, 1135-1204) y de otras fuentes, sabemos que no todas las comunidades se
podan permitir el tener su propia Torah; en situaciones as, Maimnides lleg a permitir que
las comunidades judas leyesen la Torah en cdices en la sinagoga. En un caso u otro, es obvio que el Sefer Torah no era una biblia que los
judos leyeran a diario, o que estudiasen, o que

David Stern

(Stern 1870) 2 and their excellence was recognized even in Ashkenaz by such figures as Meir
of Rothenberg (end of thirteenth 2
Haggahot
century) who mentions the supe- Maimuniyyot
rior and exact books of Sepharad. [Maimonidean
Another thirteenth-century Tal- Glosses] (Mishneh
mudist, Menaem ben Solomon Torah 8, Hilkhot
Meiri (Perpignan, 12491316), de- Sefer Torah 2, 4),
scribes a German rabbi who jour- as cited by
neyed to Toledo to acquire a N. Sarna in
his Introductory
codex of the Pentateuch that was
Remarks.
copied from a Torah scroll written by the Sephardic sage Meir Ha-Levi Abulafia in Toledo so as to use the Sephardic codex
to write Sifre Torah in Ashkenaz (!) (Hirschler
1996, 48).
By the Middle Ages, the Sefer Torah had
become primarily a liturgical artifact that was
read aloud and chanted publicly in the synagogue in an annual cycle of weekly readings;
it was not a book in any ordinary sense of the
term. As a ritual scroll, particular laws governed not only its production but also its usage and handling, almost as though it were a
kind of sanctum, a holy object. How many Sifre
Torah actually existed and how many Jewish
communities owned their own Sefer Torah is
not known. A monumental Torah scroll was
an exceedingly expensive item, and we know
from one responsum of Maimonides (Moses
ben Maimon, 11351204) and other sources that
not all communities could afford to own their
own Torah; Maimonides even permitted such
communities to read the Torah in the synagogue from a codex. In any case, the Sefer
Torah was clearly not the Bible that Jews read
on a daily basis or studied or owned individually except, perhaps, for some extremely
wealthy persons or sages who managed to write
their own personal copies. The Bible that Jews

un individuo (salvo quizs alguna persona muy


adinerada, o algn erudito que fuese capaz de
escribir de su puo y letra una copia) pudiera
poseer. La Biblia que los judos posean, la que
lean y en la que estudiaban, era un cdice, el
formato bblico que hoy denominamos libro.
El cdice, es decir, el formato libro, se introdujo relativamente tarde en la cultura literaria juda. Como ya se ha observado, el formato
de libro ms comn en occidente durante la Antigedad fue el rollo. El cdice apareci por primera vez en la cultura occidental en torno al cambio de era, y hacia principios el s. v casi todos
(salvo los judos, que continuaban escribiendo
sus obras literarias en rollos) lo haban adoptado como formato predilecto en sustitucin del
rollo. Los judos, por su parte, no comenzaron
a adoptar el formato cdice hasta los ss. vIIvIII.
Los cdices judos ms antiguos que se conservan datan de finales del s. Ix y comienzos del
s. x, y proceden en su totalidad de oriente Medio y el Norte de frica. Prcticamente todos ellos
son biblias, en las que el texto hebreo, vocalizado
y acentuado, a tres columnas, va acompaado
de masora3. En estos cdices (lm. 2)
3
Sobre los primeros
la masora aparece escrita de dos forcdices masorticos,
mas en los mrgenes de la pgina:
vase Stern 2008.
la masorah qetanah (masora parva)
se recoge fundamentalmente en forma de abreviaturas en los mrgenes externos y en los que
separan las columnas internas. La masorah gedolah
(masora magna), que desarrolla el contenido de
la masorah qetanah, aparece en dos o tres lneas
en los mrgenes superior e inferior de la pgina.
En algunos casos la masorah gedolah est escrita
en forma de dibujos florares o arquitectnicos
realizados en micrografa, o escritura diminuta
(lm. 3), un tipo de diseo verbal que parece ser
exclusivo del arte judo. El fuerte impacto del libro islmico, y sobre todo del Corn, se pone en

owned, read from, and studied was a codex, the


Bible in the form of what we today call a book.
The codex or book-form was a relative latecomer to Jewish literary culture. As noted earlier, the most common type of book-form in
antiquity in the West was the scroll. The codex
first appeared in Western culture around the
turn of the common era and had largely replaced the scroll as the preferred book form
by the beginning of the fifth centurythat
is, among nearly everyone, except Jews, who
continued to write their literary texts in scrolls.
It was probably not until the seventh or eighth
centuries that Jews began to take up the codex
form.
The earliest surviving Jewish codices date
from the late ninth and early tenth centuries,
all of them from the Near East or North Africa.
virtually all these codices are Bibles with the
vocalized and accentuated Hebrew text written in three columns on each folio page, and with
the masorah.3 In these codices (Fig. 3
on the early
2), the masorah is written in the
masoretic codices,
margins of the page in two forms
see Stern 2008.
the masorah qetanah (masora parva) appears largely in the form of abbreviations
on the outer side and inter-column margins; and
the masorah gedolah (masora magna), an expansion of the masorah qetanah, in two or three lines
across the width of the page on the upper and
lower margins. In some cases, the masorah
gedolah is written in geometric or floral or architectural patterns in micrography, miniature
writing (Fig. 3), a type of verbal design that seems
to be unique to Jewish art. on both these text
pages and the so-called carpet pages at the beginning and end of some codicesbrilliantly
painted pages covered with intricate ornamental designs that resemble those found on oriental carpets (hence their name) and that replicate

Una introduccin a la historia de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad | The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction

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Lm. 2 / Fig. 2.
Cdice de Alepo, Alepo, 930. Aleppo Codex, Aleppo, 930.
Jerusalem, Ben Zvi Institute, MS 1, f. 189v.
Courtesy of the Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem.

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Lm. 3 / Fig. 3.
Cdice M1, Toledo?, s. xIII. Codex M1, Toledo?, 12--.
Madrid, Biblioteca Histrica de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, BH MS 1, f. 6r.
Biblioteca Histrica de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

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estos cdices de manifiesto tanto en estas pginas


de texto, como en las as llamadas pginas tapiz,
que se encuentran al principio y al final de algunos cdices, pginas magistralmente pintadas y
cubiertas con complejos diseos ornamentales que
traen a la memoria los que se encuentran en los
tapices orientales (de ah su nombre), y que imitan diseos islmicos contemporneos.
El cdice medieval de la Biblia hebrea de Sefarad es heredero de biblias masorticas anteriores
de oriente Medio. No es del todo claro si la forma
convencional de estas ltimas lleg directamente
a Sefarad desde oriente Medio, o si en algn momento entre los ss. Ix y xI el formato bblico lleg a la Pennsula Ibrica a travs del Norte de
frica4. Fuese cual fuese la ruta por
4
Kogman-Appel
la que el formato alcanz la Penn(2004, 1056)
sula,
lo cierto es que la localizacin
reconstruye el
contexto histrico de los distintos centros en el marco
de este proceso. general del imperio islmico, que se
extenda entonces por la mayor parte de oriente Prximo y el Norte de frica llegando hasta al-Andalus, favoreci esos contactos. Desafortunadamente, ni una sola Biblia hebrea
de la edad de oro andalus (ss. xIxII) ha sobrevivido y, en consecuencia, cualquier tesis sobre la
forma de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad en lo que debi de haber sido el periodo formativo de su produccin, no pasa de ser puramente conjetural.
Aun as, el carcter anicnico y otras caractersticas propias de las biblias hebreas ms tempranas, producidas en un contexto islmico, sigui siendo dominante en las biblias producidas
en los reinos hispnicos, bajo gobierno cristiano
hasta la expulsin de los judos a finales del s. xv.
Esta caracterstica es ya visible en la primera Biblia hebrea sefard datada (Pars, Bibliothque nationale de France, ms. hb. 105), escrita en Toledo en 1197. En esa poca, haba pasado ms de un
siglo desde la conquista cristiana de esa ciudad,

David Stern

contemporary Islamic patternsthese codices


display the strong impact of the Islamic book,
particularly the Quran.
The medieval Sephardic Hebrew Bible
codex was the successor to the early masoretic Bibles from the Middle East. It is not clear
whether the latters conventional form came
directly from the Near East, or whether the
biblical format reached the Iberian Peninsula
through North Africa sometime between the
ninth and eleventh centuries. 4 4
For a good
Whatever the route by which the
sketch of
format reached the Iberian Peninthe historical
sula, the connections between
background, see
these various centers were faciliKogman-Appel
2004, 1056.
tated by their common location
in the greater Islamic empire that
covered almost the entirety of the Near East
and North Africa through the Iberian Peninsula in southern Europe. Unhappily, not a single Hebrew Bible survives from the period of
Islamic rule in Sepharad in the eleventh and
twelfth centuriesthe Andalusian Golden
Ageand as a result, we are only able to conjecture about the shape of the Sephardic Hebrew Bible in what must have been its most
formative period.
Even so, the aniconicism and other features
typical of earlier Hebrew Bibles produced in an
Islamic context continued to characterize Bibles
produced in the Hispanic kingdoms under Christian rule until the expulsion of the Jews at the
end of the fifteenth century. This feature is evident in the earliest surviving dated Hebrew Bible
from the Iberian Peninsula (Paris, Bibliothque
nationale de France, MS hb. 105), written in
Toledo in 1197. By then, Toledo had been Christian for more than a century (since 1085 C.E.).
Even so, the mise-en-page of the 1197 Toledo
Bible faithfully replicates that of the early Near

ocurrida en 1085. Aun as, la mise en page de la


Biblia de Toledo de 1197 replica de forma exacta
la de los cdices orientales ms tempranos, con la
nica salvedad de que el texto aparece escrito en
dos columnas en lugar de tres. Lo mismo se podra decir de una de las primeras biblias masorticas decoradas de Sefarad (Pars, Bibliothque
nationale de France, ms. hb. 25), un libro relativamente pequeo (185 x 220 cm), escrito en Toledo en 1232, de nuevo a dos columnas. En este
cdice y en muchos otros el seder (pl. sedarim),
es decir, la percopa sinagogal semanal perteneciente al ciclo trienal, se marca por medio de la
letra samekh inserta en un medalln decorativo
floral, motivo que se deriva de la ansa que en coranes de poca anterior se utilizaba para marcar
las azoras. Esta costumbre de marcar tanto los
sedarim trienales como las parashiyyot (sing.
parashah, percopa del ciclo anual) semanales deriva de cdices masorticos ms tempranos, y su
pervivencia en los reinos cristianos es digna de
resear, pues es posible que en aquella poca nadie siguiese utilizando el ciclo trienal. El mantenimiento de las divisiones en sedarim deba de
ser una cuestin de tradicin escrituraria. De hecho, su aparicin anacrnica en las biblias hebreas
de Sefarad es una prueba aadida en stas del empeo de continuar tradiciones antiguas.
En la Iberia medieval existan fundamentalmente tres tipos distintos de biblias hebreas. Esos
tres tipos eran comunes a todos los centros judos
de produccin de libros en Sefarad, Ashkenaz e
Italia, aunque en cada centro se observan preferencias por algunos tipos concretos. En la Pennsula Ibrica, la biblia masortica a la que he
hecho referencia hasta aqu era la ms comn.
Este tipo concreto sola incluir bien la TaNaKh
completa (acrnimo de: Torah [Pentateuco],
Neviim [Profetas, incluyendo Neviim rishonim (Profetas Anteriores) y Neviim aaronim

Eastern codices with the single exception that


the biblical text is written in two rather than
three columns. The same is true of the earliest
dated decorated masoretic Bible from Sepharad
(Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, MS.
hb. 25), a relatively small book written in Toledo in 1232, again in double columns. In this codex
and many others, the seder (pl. sedarim), that is
the weekly synagogue reading as practiced in
the triennial cycle, is marked by the letter samekh
inscribed in a floral-like decorative medallion,
which itself is another decorative pattern borrowed from early Qurans where the ansa decoration was used to mark sra-s. This custom of
marking both the triennial sedarim as well as
the weekly parashiyyot (sing. parashah, pericope of the annual cycle) derives from the early masoretic codices, but its persistence in the
Christian Hispanic kingdoms is even more remarkable inasmuch as probably no one in the
world by this time still used the triennial cycle.
The preservation of the seder-divisions must have
been largely a matter of scribal tradition; indeed, its anachronistic preservation in Sephardic
Hebrew Bibles testifies to the latters persistence
in continuing the earlier traditions.
In medieval Iberia, there existed essentially
three different types of Hebrew Bibles. These
three types were common to all medieval
Jewish centers of book culture in Sepharad,
Ashkenaz and Italy, but different centers seemed
to have preferred different types. In the Iberian Peninsula, the most commonly produced
Bible was the masoretic Bible I have been discussing. This type tends to comprise either a complete TaNaKhthe traditional acronym for the
entire Hebrew Bible in its three traditional sections, namely, Torah [Pentateuch], Neviim
[Prophets, including both Neviim rishonim [Former Prophets] and Neviim aaronim [Latter

Una introduccin a la historia de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad | The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction

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(Profetas Posteriores)], y Ketuvim [Escritos o


Hagigrafos]), o bien una o dos secciones de la
misma. Los colofones de algunas copias indican
explcitamente que el escriba solo copi una seccin, por ejemplo, Neviim o Ketuvim, por lo
que sabemos que en ocasiones algunas secciones
de la TaNaKh se copiaban solas. Cuando no hay
colofn con indicacin explcita al respecto, es
imposible determinar si un determinado volumen que hoy solo contiene Profetas y Hagigrafos es el resto que nos ha llegado de un cdice
en varios volmenes. De igual modo, existen Pentateucos masorticos que no van acompaados
las otras dos secciones.
La Biblia masortica (lm. 4) se define fundamentalmente en funcin del contenido que
hemos descrito: texto bblico vocalizado y acentuado, con marcas de cantilacin, habitualmente dispuesto en dos o tres columnas, y anotaciones masorticas, que generalmente incluyen
masora parva y magna, escritas en micrografa,
la primera en los espacios que hay entre las columnas del texto, y la segunda en los mrgenes
superior e inferior de la pgina. Dependiendo
de su origen, los cdices masorticos pueden o
no incluir signos de parashah y/o seder en los
mrgenes, as como los tratados y listas masorticas que preceden o siguen al texto bblico al
comienzo o al final del cdice. Salvo en raras ocasiones, las pginas de estas biblias no contienen
ningn otro texto, aparte del propio texto bblico y la masora.
El ttulo que los propios colofones suelen dar
a estos volmenes es, o bien esrim ve-arba (veinticuatro [libros]), cuando incluyen toda la TaNaKh, o Torah, Neviim u-Khetuvim. En algunos casos, la Biblia masortica era tambin un sefer
mugah o tikkun (cdice modelo). A diferencia
del moderno tikkun, con sus dobles columnas de
texto (una de ella presentada tal y como aparece

David Stern

Prophets], and Ketuvim [the Writings or the


Hagiographa])or one or two of the sections
alone. Because the colophons of some volumes
explicitly state that the scribe wrote only a single sectionNeviim or Ketuvim, for example
we know that parts of the complete TaNaKh
were sometimes copied alone, but where there
is no colophon with an explicit statement to this
effect, it is impossible to determine as to whether
or not an existing volume now containing only the Prophets or the Hagiographa is the survivor of a once-complete set of codices. Similarly, there exist stand-alone masoretic
Pentateuchs.
The masoretic Bible (Fig. 4) is essentially
defined by its contentsthe vocalized and accentuated biblical text with cantillation marks,
typically presented in either two or three
columns, and the masoretic annotations, usually both the masora parva and magna written
in micrography, the former in the spaces between
the text-columns, the latter on the top and bottom page margins. Depending on where they
were produced, masoretic codices frequently contain either or both parashah and seder signs in
the margins of the text as well as masoretic treatises and lists that either precede or follow the
biblical text at the codexs beginning or end.
Rarely, however, do the Bible-pages themselves contain texts other than the Bible and
the masorah.
The typical title for these volumes as they are
called in their colophons is either esrim ve-arba
(twenty four [books]), if they contain the entire TaNaKh, or Torah, Neviim, u-Khetuvim.
In some cases, the masoretic Bible was also a
sefer mugah or tikkun (model book). Unlike
the modern tikkun, with its double-columns
of the same textone presented as it appears
in a Sefer Torah , the other printed with the

61

Lm. 4 / Fig. 4.
Biblia, s. xv? Bible, 14--?
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, vITR/26/6, f. 378v.
Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa.

62

en un Sefer Torah, y la otra impresa con signos de


vocalizacin y cantilacin, formato cuyo objeto
es ayudar a memorizar la manera correcta de recitar en alto el texto bblico a partir de un Sefer
Torah durante el servicio sinagogal), el tikkun
medieval era un cdice bblico escrito con particular cuidado que les serva de modelo a los copistas que escriban Sifre Torah y, es de imaginar que
otros libros modelo o cdices bblicos en general.
Probablemente el ms famoso de todos los cdices sefardes sea el cdice modelo que se conoce
con el nombre de Sefer Hilleli o cdice Hilleli, que
se dice fue escrito en torno al ao 600, aunque lo
ms probable es que fuese en torno al ao 1000,
en la ciudad de Len. El cdice original exista
todava y era consultado y copiado en 1197, momento en que los almohades atacaron las comunidades de Castilla y Aragn y se llevaron al menos parte de ese cdice. Una copia parcial del
mismo, que incluye el Pentateuco, se complet
en Toledo en 1241 y se conserva en la actualidad
en los fondos del Jewish Theological Seminary
of America (ms. L 44a). Entre otros detalles, el
cdice Hilleli inclua signos extraordinarios, como los tagin (coronas o trazos ornamentales en
la parte superior de las letras) y ciertas letras escritas de forma especial (otiyyot meshunot), pruebas adicionales que confirman que los copistas lo
utilizaban efectivamente como modelo.
El segundo tipo de Biblia usada por los judos en la Edad Media era el ummash (Pentateuco litrgico), es decir, un Pentateuco acompaado de las haftarot (sing. haftarah, lecturas
de los Profetas que se recitaban en la sinagoga
durante la lectura semanal de la Torah), los cinco rollos (Eclesiasts, Ester, Cantar de los Cantares, Lamentaciones y Rut), habitualmente el
Targum (en la mayora de los casos el de onquelos, y en algn caso excepcional otro distinto),
y en zonas arabfonas (como al-Andalus y Yemen)

David Stern

vocalization and cantillation marksand which


is primarily intended to help its users memorize the proper way to chant aloud from a Sefer Torah in the synagogue service, the medieval
tikkun was a biblical codex written with special care so as to serve as an exemplar for scribes
writing a Sefer Torah or Biblical codex.
Probably the most famous of all such
Sephardic codices was a model codex known as
the Sefer Hilleli, or Hilleli Codex, reputed to have
been written around the year 600 C. E. but, more
probably, around the year 1000, in the city of
Len. The original was still in existence in 1197
C. E. when the Almohades attacked the Jewish
communities of Castile and Aragon and carried
away at least part of the complete codex, and it
was both consulted and copied. one such copy,
albeit only the Pentateuch section, was completed in Toledo in 1241 and survives to this day
in the collection of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (MS L 44a). Among its singular features, the Hilleli Codex recorded the
extraordinary tagin (crownlets or ornamental
strokes atop letters) as well as certain peculiarly
shaped letters (otiyyot meshunot), further evidence of its use as an exemplar for scribes.
The second type of Bible used by medieval
Jews was a ummash (liturgical Pentateuch),
namely, a Pentateuch accompanied by the haftarot (sing. haftarah; readings from the Prophets
that are chanted in the synagogue following the
weekly Torah reading); the Five Scrolls (Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs, Lamentations,
and Ruth); and usually the Aramaic Targum,
typically onkelos, though in a few cases other
Aramaic Targumim and in Arabic-speaking locales like al-Andalus and Yemen, the Tafsr
(Arabic translation) of the great Geonic-period
sage Saadiah Gaon (Egypt, 882/892Baghdad,
942). In some codices, the commentary of the

el Tafsr (traduccin rabe) del gran sabio del


periodo ganico Saadiah Gan (Egipto,
882/892Bagdad, 942). Como veremos, tambin el comentario del famoso exegeta del s. xI
Rashi (Salomn ben Isaac, 10401105) se incluye en ocasiones en estos volmenes, unas veces
acompaado del Targum, y otras en sustitucin
del mismo. He denominado este tipo de biblia
litrgica porque su contenido parece corresponder con las secciones de la Biblia que se lean en la sinagoga el sbado y durante las fiestas,
aunque se desconoce qu uso especfico poda
tener en la sinagoga o fuera de ella. Tanto el Targum como otras traducciones arameas aparecen
unas veces en columnas separadas, y otras en el
cuerpo del propio texto de la Torah, en cuyo
caso los versculos van alternando con la traduccin o el comentario. En ocasiones, estos libros tambin incluyen los Sifre EMeT (Job, Proverbios y Salmos), as como la Megillat Antiochus
[Rollo de Antoco], relato medieval sobre la revuelta macabea que se lea en la sinagoga durante la fiesta de anukkah, y captulos del libro de Jeremas que era tradicional leer durante
el da de ayuno de Tishah be-av (Nueve de av).
En los colofones, estos libros aparecen habitualmente descritos como ummashim (o amishah
ummeshe Torah).
El tercer tipo de Biblia que encontramos entre los judos en la Edad Media es la biblia de estudio. Es cierto que tanto la Biblia masortica
como el Pentateuco litrgico se usaban tambin
para estudiar, pues qu Biblia hebrea no se estudiaba?, pero estos cdices parecen haber sido
compuestos con el propsito especfico de servir
para el estudio. As, incluyen mltiples comentarios en la misma pgina, que con frecuencia se
acompaan de Targum o Tafsr. A lo largo de
la Edad Media, y al margen de biblias de estudio
de este tipo, los comentarios no solan aparecer

celebrated eleventh-century exegete Rashi


(Solomon ben Isaac, 10401105) is also included
in these volumes, at times as a substitute for the
Targum, at other times in addition to it. I have
called this type of Bible liturgical because its
contents seem to correspond to the sections of
the Bible that were read in the synagogue on
the Sabbath and holidays; however, their precise use in the synagogue or outside it remains
to be discussed. The Targum or other Aramaic
translations are sometimes recorded in separate
columns; at other times, they are presented in
the body of the Torah text itself, alternating
verse and translation or commentary. on occasion, these books also include the Sifre EMeT
(Job, Proverbs, and Psalms), as well as Megillat
Antiochus [Antiochus Scroll], a medieval account of the Maccabean Revolt that was read
in the synagogue on the festival of anukkah,
and chapters from the prophet Jeremiah that
were read on the fast day of Tishah be-av
(Ninth of Av). Typically, these books are called
in their colophons ummashim (or amishah
ummeshe Torah).
The third type of Bible in circulation among
Jews in the Middle Ages was the study-Bible.
While both masoretic Bibles and liturgical Pentateuchs were certainly used for study as well
what Jewish Bible has not been studied? these
codices appear to have been composed specifically for the purpose of Bible study, a function indicated by such features as that they contain multiple commentaries on the same page, often with
the Targum or Tafsr. Aside from study-Bibles
of this kind, commentaries were generally not
reproduced on the same page as the biblical text
but were recorded and studied from separate
books called quntresim (sing. quntres, from the
Latin quinterion , a quire of five sheets). The
one exception was Rashi but, as noted earlier,

Una introduccin a la historia de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad | The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction

63

64

en la misma pgina que el texto bblico, sino que


eran escritos y estudiados en libros separados
llamados quntresim (sing. quntres, del latn quinterion, cuaderno de cinco folios). La nica excepcin era Rashi, aunque, como ya se ha observado, su comentario sola sustituir al Targum
arameo.
Adems de estos tres tipos principales, haba varios sub-tipos de biblias, o secciones de biblias, que se producan como libros separados.
Se trata de los salterios (que a veces se decoraban, e incluso se ilustraban, y que con frecuencia contenan comentarios que tambin deban
de servir para el estudio) y de cdices separados
que contenan nicamente las haftarot, y/o los
cincos rollos.
En el ensayo sobre el arte de la Biblia hebrea
en Sefarad que aparece en este mismo volumen,
K. Kogman-Appel identifica varios periodos distintos en la historia de la Biblia hebrea sefard
desde mediados del s. xIII a finales del s. xv. El
lector puede encontrar en l los detalles de esa
historia. Aqu me gustara nicamente tratar brevemente dos caractersticas inusuales que surgen
durante su desarrollo y que son cruciales para
entender el sentido que la Biblia tena para los
judos en la Pennsula Ibrica. La primera de esas
caractersticas es la pervivencia, en las biblias hebreas escritas en los reinos cristianos de la Pennsula, de una serie de caractersticas propias
de las biblias orientales, a las que ya se ha hecho
referencia. La segunda es el uso de la representacin de los utensilios del Templo en un grupo
de aproximadamente veinticinco biblias producidas en la Corona de Aragn principalmente en
la primera mitad del s. xIv. Estas aparecen generalmente al comienzo del cdice bblico, como si
de una pgina tapiz se tratase (lm. 5).
La pervivencia de elementos que eran caractersticos de la biblias orientales, como el carcter

David Stern

his commentary was often reproduced in order


to take the place of the Aramaic Targum.
In addition to these three main types, there
were several sub-types of Bibles or portions of
the Bible that were produced as separate books.
These include Psalters which were sometimes
decorated and even illustrated, and often contained commentaries that must also have been
used for study. There also existed separate codices
containing the haftarot alone, or the Five Scrolls,
or both.
In her essay in this volume on the art of the
Hebrew Bible in Sepharad, K. Kogman-Appel
identifies several distinct periods in the history
of the Sephardic Hebrew Bible between the
mid-thirteenth and late fifteenth centuries. The
reader is referred to that essay for the details of
that history; here I wish only to deal briefly
with two unusual features that emerge from
the history of the Hebrew Bible in Sepharad that
are critical to understanding the meaning
that the Bible held for Jews in the Iberian Peninsula. The first of these features is, as already noted,
the persistence in the Hebrew Bibles produced
in the Hispanic Christian kingdoms of features
which were typical of earlier Bibles produced
in the Near East within Islamic realms. The second is the use of Temple implement illustrations in a group of approximately twenty-five
Bibles produced in the Crown of Aragon mainly in the first half of the fourteenth century.
These illustrations are usually found at the beginnings of the Bible codex almost like carpet
pages (Fig. 5).
The retention of the features of the early
Near Eastern Bibleparticularly the aniconicism inherited from Islam and the use of carpet pagesin the Hebrew Bibles produced in
Christian Iberia is characteristic of the contemporary Mudejar style in the Hispanic kingdoms,

65

Lm. 5 / Fig. 5.
Biblia de Perpin, Perpin, 1299. Perpignan Bible, Perpignan, 1299.
Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, MS hb. 7, ff. 12v13r.
Bibliothque nationale de France.

66

anicnico heredado del Islam o la presencia de


pginas tapiz, en las biblias hebreas producidas
en la Iberia cristiana est en sintona con el arte
mudjar de los reinos hispnicos, en particular
durante los ss. xIII y xIv; este estilo es eclctico e
hbrido, el estilo de la convivencia, una simbiosis
nacida del intercambio entre las poblaciones cristiana, musulmana y juda (Mann, Glick, y Dodds
1991, 113132). Sin embargo, hay que destacar la
consistencia con la que las biblias hebreas parecen rechazar la cultura del libro cristiano de la
poca y, con algunas notables excepciones, aquellos elementos que se perciben como gticos.
Esta preferencia por los modelos derivados del
arte islmico y por el arte mudjar de la poca
no es privativa de los libros judos. Tambin se
produce en la arquitectura de las sinagogas que
los judos construyeron en los siglos xIII, xIv y
xv en Sefarad: edificios como Santa Mara la Blanca de Toledo, construido en el s. xIII, la sinagoga
de Crdoba, erigida en el primer cuarto del s. xIv,
la sinagoga de Segovia (hoy Iglesia del Corpus
Christi), construida en 1419; y la ms famosa de
todas ella, El Trnsito, levantada en Toledo en
1360. Las monumentales inscripciones en esta ltima son reminiscentes de las inscripciones que
enmarcan las pginas tapiz y los utensilios del
Templo en las biblias sefardes masorticas. Todos estos edificios, de estilo mudjar, no comparten con el arte religioso cristiano sus principales
caractersticas arquitectnicas.
Las biblias sefardes muestran esas mismas
tendencias. Ninguna comparte las principales
caractersticas de las biblias cristianas producidas en Iberia durante ese periodo, y casi todas
resisten el tipo de ilustraciones representacionales y narrativas que dominan el arte del libro
cristiano. La nica excepcin a la regla son las
ilustraciones de los utensilios del Templo, pero
estas no son narrativas, sino pginas decorativas

David Stern

particularly in the thirteenth and fourteenth


centuries; this style was eclectic and hybrid, the
style of convivencia, a symbiosis born of the
interchange between its Christian, Islamic, and
Jewish populations (Mann, Glick, and Dodds
1991, 113132). Nonetheless, it is noteworthy how
consistently the Sephardic Bibles seem to have
rejected their contemporary Christian book culture andwith a few notable exceptionselements perceived as Gothic. This tendency to
cling to the traditional Islamically-derived models and to the influences of contemporary Mudejar style is not unique to Jewish books. It also
informs the architecture of the synagogues Jews
built in thirteenth-, fourteenth-, and fifteenthcentury Sepharadbuildings like Toledos Santa Mara la Blanca, built in the thirteenth century; the Cordoba synagogue, erected in the first
quarter of the fourteenth century; the synagogue
in Segovia (currently Iglesia del Corpus Christi),
constructed in 1419; and the most famous of them
all, El Trnsito, erected in Toledo in 1360. The
monumental inscriptions in the last synagogue
are reminiscent of the inscriptions that frame
the carpet pages and Temple implement pages
in Sephardic masoretic Bibles. All these buildings, constructed in the Mudejar style, depart
from the central defining features of contemporary Christian religious architecture.
The same tendency informs the Sephardic
Bibles. None adapt the main stylistic elements
found in Christian Bibles produced in Iberia during this period, and nearly all resist the kind of
representational, narrative illustrations that dominate Christian book art. The one exception to
this rule is the Temple implements illustrations,
but these are not narrative drawings so much
as decorative pages resembling the carpet pages
in earlier Castilian or Near Eastern Hebrew Bibles.
This tendency to avoid contemporary Christian

que recuerdan a las pginas tapiz de biblias hebreas castellanas u orientales anteriores. Esta tendencia a evitar los elementos cristianos de ese
perodo parece ir en contra de una de las reglas
principales de la cultura del libro judo, y que
es la tendencia a reflejar los elementos de la cultura mayoritaria.
Por qu se evitaron los judos de la Pennsula Ibrica las caractersticas de los libros cristianos y optaron por los elementos derivados
del arte islmico y del estilo mudjar? En parte
pudo tratase de continuidad con la tradicin,
pero seguramente fue ms que eso. El hbito pudo estar puesto al servicio de un objetivo politizado, acorde con la poca. Siendo forma de
resistencia a la cultura dominante cristiana, pudo haberle servido a los judos, como minora
cultural, para identificar no solo sus libros, sino
a ellos mismos, con la otra cultura minoritaria
de los reinos hispnicos: la de los mudjares, que
rechazaba, de forma similar, modelos que eran
percibidos como cristianos. Sumarse a esa tendencia pudo haber tenido un significado especial en el s. xIII, cuando se estaban produciendo
las violentas dislocaciones de la conquista cristiana del sur, y sobre todo a finales del s. xIv,
cuando se produjeron las persecuciones de 1391,
las conversiones forzadas resultantes, el fallo de
las predicciones apocalpticas que apuntaban a
comienzos del siglo xv, y la desilusin que debi seguir al fallo de las mismas. Estos vecinos
mudjares no suponan ninguna
5
El argumento amenaza para los judos sefardes,
que aqu presento y estos ltimos, al identificar sus
es muy similar
libros y sus sinagogas con la tradial que aparece
cin
material mudjar, fueron caen Frojmovic
paces
de resistir la hegemona cris2002 y 2010.
tiana para autodefinirse como
cultura minoritaria5. Sabemos por muchos otros
casos que la forma material de un texto cannico

elements would seem to violate one of the cardinal rules of Jewish book-culture: namely, the
tendency for Jewish books to reflect those of
the host culture.
Why did the Jews of Iberia so regularly
avoid the features of Christian books in their
Bibles and cling to the Islamically-derived features of Mudejar style? In part, it may have
been a reflex of traditionalism, but it was surely more than that as well. The habit may have
served a more contemporary, politicized purpose. As a path of resistance to the dominant
Christian culture, it may have functioned as
a way for Jews to identify not only their books
but themselves, a minority culture, albeit an
active one, with the other contemporary minority culture in the Hispanic kingdoms, that
of the Mudejars who, in a similar vein, rejected models which they perceived as Christian.
Adhering to these tendencies would have held
special meaning in the thirteenth century
which witnessed the violent dislocations of
the Christian conquest of the south and, even
more so in the fourteenth century, with the
1391 persecutions, the forced conversions that
followed them, the failure of the apocalyptic
expectations predicted for the beginning of
the fifteenth century, and the disappointment
that must have followed upon the failure of
those expectations. Their Mudejar neighbors
posed no threat to the Sephardic Jews, and the
Jews, by identifying their books,
and synagogue buildings, mate- 5 My argument
rially with Mudejar tradition, here is very
were able to resist Christian hege- close to the one
made by
mony and to define themselves as
Frojmovic
5
a minority culture. We know 2002 and 2010.
from many other cases that the
material shape of a canonical text can serve
to shape religious identity. Here the material

Una introduccin a la historia de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad | The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction

67

68

puede contribuir a formar la identidad religiosa. Aqu la forma material de la Biblia hebrea
estara puesta al servicio de la autodefinicin
cultural.
Se puede dar una explicacin similar al florecimiento de la representacin de los utensilios
del Templo en las biblias del s. xIv que proceden del Roselln y Catalua, que no se lean de
forma aislada, o como simples imgenes, sino
en conjuncin con los textos inscritos en los marcos monumentales de estilo mudjar que los rodeaban, al menos en aquellos casos en los que
existen marcos, pues no todas las representaciones de los utensilios del Templo los exhiben. Estos textos son los siguientes: 1) versculos como
x 25,34 y N 8,4 que tratan sobre los utensilios del Templo, en particular sobre la menorah; 2) versculos que piden la reconstruccin
del Templo; 3) otros, generalmente del libro de
Proverbios (por ej., 2,311; 3,13; 6,23), y de Job
(18,16) que alaban la Torah y la sabidura mediante metforas y smiles que comparan los mandamientos con ner (lmpara) y la Torah con or
(luz) (sobre todo Pr 6,23), o que comparan el valor de la sabidura, la Torah y los mandamientos con plata, oro, nice, zafiros, etc. El efecto
general de estos versos inscritos es judaizar los
utensilios representados en la imagen enmarcndolos con las palabras de la Biblia hebrea.
Esto no solo resulta relevante por el hecho
de que los utensilios del Templo (en la medida
en que eran vestigios preciados, nicos restos del
Templo destruido de Jerusaln) eran objeto de
disputa entre judos y cristianos en la Edad Media, sino porque desde la Antigedad tarda y
durante el periodo medieval ambas tradiciones,
en sus respectivos contextos apocalpticos, vaticinaban la recuperacin de los utensilios del
Templo. La representacin de los utensilios
del Templo en libros cristianos se remonta al

David Stern

shape of the Hebrew Bible served as a medium of cultural self-definition.


An analogous explanation may lie behind
the efflorescence of Temple implement illustrations in the Roussillon and Catalan Bibles of the
fourteenth century. These illustrations should
be read not in visual isolation or as mere images but together with the texts inscribed in monumental frames around them (at least where there
are such verses). These texts are: 1) Biblical verses like Exod 25:34 and Num 8:4 that relate directly to the Temple implements, the menorah
in particular; 2) verses that pray for the rebuilding of the Temple; and (3) others that praise
Torah and wisdom, usually through a mlange
of verses from Proverbs (eg. 2:311; 3:13; 6:23)
and Job (18:16), which often use metaphors and
similes that liken the commandments to a ner
(lamp) and Torah to or (light) (Prov 6:23 in particular) or that compare the value of wisdom,
Torah, and the commandments to silver, gold,
onyx, sapphires, and so on. The overall effect
of these inscribed verses is to judaize the implements illustrated in the picture by explicitly
framing them with the words of the Hebrew
Bible.
This is not insignificant because the Temple implementsthe treasured spoils of the destroyed Jerusalem Templewere fiercely contested objects in the religious imaginations of
Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages. In the
late antique and early medieval periods, both
traditions foresaw the restoration of the Temple implements as part of their respective apocalyptic scenarios. Illustrations of the implements
were found in Christian books going back to the
seventh-century Codex Amiatinus, which itself
derived from the sixth-century Codex Grandior
of Cassiodorus, as well as in Iberian Bibles from
the tenth through thirteenth century and in

cdice Amiatinus (s. vII), que a su vez deriva del


cdice Grandior (s. vI) de Casiodoro; aparece tambin en biblias producidas en la Pennsula Ibrica entre los ss. x y xIII, y en manuscritos de la
Historia Scholastica de Pedro Comstor (m.
11781180) (Williams 1965; Kuenel 1999, 1314;
Nordstrm 1964)6. En conjuncin
6
Segn Nordstrm, con las especulaciones mesinicas
las ilustraciones comunes entre los judos de Catadel manuscrito de lua, y en general de Sefarad, a raMadrid, Biblioteca
z de la disputa de Barcelona en 1263
Nacional de
(disputa
que, de hecho, gir en torEspaa, RES/199,
no
a
la
veracidad
de los conceptos
estn directamente
basadas en mesinicos cristianos y judos), y
modelos judos. con los anhelos de establecer fechas
que sealaran la llegada del periodo mesinico en torno a 1358 y 1403, los utensilios del Templo y su representacin empezaron
a poseer un enorme poder simblico.
En la exgesis juda que se escribe en este periodo, se prest a los utensilios del Templo una
nueva y especial atencin, como se puede ver
en el comentario popular, cuasi-cabalstico de
Baya ben Asher (Zaragoza, m. 1349), alumno
de Namnides. En su comentario a x 25,9,
dice Baya: es bien sabido que el Tabernculo
y sus utensilios eran iyyurim gufaniyyim (imgenes materiales) [cuyo propsito era] hacer comprensible las elyoniyyim (imgenes divinas) a
las que serva de modelos (Chavel 19661968,
2:268). Pasa a explicar entonces el sentido espiritual de cada uno de los utensilios y concluye:
Es importante decir que aunque [...] los utensilios materiales del Templo estaban destinados a
ser destruidos con la golah (dispora), no has de
pensar que [...] sus formas y modelos dejaron de
existir le-maalah (en lo alto). Continan existiendo y existirn para siempre (Chavel
19661968, 2:288289). Baya parece aludir aqu
especficamente a la imagen de estos utensilios.

a fourteenth-century Iberian manuscript of


the Historia Scholastica of Peter Comestor (d.
11781180) (Williams 1965; Kuenel 1999, esp.
1314; Nordstrm 1964). 6 In con6
Nordstrm
junction with the messianic expecargues
that the
tations that were current among
illustrations in
Catalan and other Sephardic Jews
the manuscript in
following the Barcelona Disputa- Madrid, Biblioteca
tion of 1263a disputation which Nacional de
itself largely revolved around the Espaa, RES/199,
messianic doctrines of Christiani- were directly
ty and Judaism and their respec- based on
tive veracityand the longings for Jewish models.
end-dates signalling the arrival
of the messianic period around 1358 and 1403,
the Temple implements and their illustrations
came to possess an especially powerful symbolic force.
In Jewish biblical exegesis of the period,
the implements also gained a new and special
attention as can be seen in the popular, quasiKabbalistic commentary of Baya ben Asher
(Saragossa, d. 1340), a student of Namanides.
In his commentary on Exod 25:9, Baya explains that It is known that the Tabernacle and
its implements were all iyyurim gufaniyyim
(material images) [that were intended] to make
comprehensible the elyoniyyim (divine [images]) for which they were a model (Chavel
19661968, 2:268). He then explicates the spiritual meanings of each of the implements, and
concludes, And it is important to say that even
thoughthe holy material Temple implements
were fated to be destroyed in the golah (Diaspora), you should not imagine thattheir forms
and models ceased to exist le-maalah (in the
higher world). They continue to exist and will
exist forever (Chavel 19661968, 2:288289).
What Baya seems to be indicating is specifically the image of these implements. Precisely

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Precisamente porque se pensaba que las imgenes de los utensilios situadas al comienzo del cdice, a modo de pginas tapiz, posean poderes
espirituales, estos constituyen marcas del carcter judo de esas biblias.
El significado simblico que se atribuye a
las biblias que contienen representacin de los
utensilios del Templo viene adems sugerido
por el hecho de que, a partir del s. xIv, los cdices bblicos masorticos de lujo que se producen en Sefarad se suelen denominar miqdashyah (lit. templo de Dios), como es el caso
de una biblia que es parte de esta exposicin, y
que actualmente est en la Biblioteca Histrica de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid,
BH ms. 2 (entrada cat. 3). Algunos de estos cdices, aunque no todos, contienen representaciones de los utensilios del Templo, y en ese
sentido son libros que realmente se explican a
s mismos y materializan su semejanza con el
santuario a travs de las representaciones de
los utensilios del Templo. El uso del trmino,
sin embargo, no se documenta por primera vez
en el s. xIv, pues la conexin entre el Tabernculo y la Torah se puede remontar a Qumrn
y fue comn entre los caratas. Sin embargo,
tal y como fue entendido por los exegetas bblicos sefardes, el trmino transmite la idea de
que el cdice de la Biblia hebrea ocupaba en la
sociedad juda de la Pennsula Ibrica el lugar
de un santuario sagrado.
La explicacin ms extensa del trmino miqdashyah aparece en el tratado gramatical Maaseh
efod [La produccin del efod], escrito en 1403
por el polemista y gramtico cataln Isaac ben
Moiss ha-Levi, conocido como Profiat Durn
(13601412). Durn le atribuye al estudio de la
Biblia un mrito inherente, un poder artefactual en palabras de K. Bland. Llega incluso a
considerar las biblias de estudio como autntica

David Stern

because the pictures of these implementsplaced


at the very beginning of the codexwere believed to possess spiritual power they were also able to serve as markers of the Jewishness
of these Bibles.
The symbolic meaning imputed to Bibles
containing images of the Temple implements
is also exemplified by the fact that, beginning
in the fourteenth century, deluxe masoretic
Bible codices in Sepharad are often called by
the term miqdashyah (lit. the sanctuary of the
Lord) as is the case with one Bible in this exhibit, held in the Biblioteca Histrica de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (BH MS 2)
(cat. entry 3). Some of these codices, though
by no means all, contain Temple-implement
illustrations, and are thus virtually self-reflexive books embodying their sanctuary-likeness
through their illustrations of the Temple implements. The use of the term was not, however, a fourteenth-century invention and did
not derive from the presence of Temple implement illustrations. The connection between
the Tabernacle and the Torah can be traced
back to Qumran and continued with the
Karaites. But as it was understood by contemporary Sephardic biblical exegetes, it captured
the place that the Hebrew Bible codex occupied in Iberian Jewish society as a kind of sacred sanctuary.
The most extensive explication of the term
miqdashyah is found in the introduction to the
grammatical treatise Maaseh efod [The Making
of the Efod], composed in 1403 by the Catalonian polemicist and grammarian Isaac ben Moses
Ha-Levi, better known as Profiat Duran
(13601412). In this work, Duran attributes to
Bible study an inherent merit, indeed a virtual
artifactual power, as K. Bland has called it. He
even calls Bible-study the true avodah (worship)

avodah (culto) a Dios (Friedlnder y Kohn 1865,


14)7. Para Durn, la Torah posea una segullah,
trmino polismico este que signi7
Sobre Durn, fica tanto reliquia como fuente de
vase Gutwirth
poderes especiales, a modo de amu1991; Bland 2000,
leto. As, escribe Durn: el simple
8291; y Zwiep
2001, 224239. eseq (uso), hagiyyah (recitacin)
y qeriah (lectura) [sin comprensin] son parte del culto, y de aquello que contribuir a que la influencia y providencia divinas desciendan a travs de la segullah inherente
a las mismas, porque tambin sta es la voluntad de Dios (Friedlnder y Kohn 1865, 13). De
hecho, contina, Dios prepar especficamente
la Torah para el tiempo en que Israel iba a estar en exilio, para que de ese modo le pudiera
servir de miqdash meat (templo menor), en cuyas pginas se pudiera encontrar la presencia
de Dios, al igual que antes se encontraba entre
los muros del Templo. De forma anloga, afirma que el estudio de la Torah puede expiar los
pecados, como en el pasado lo haban hecho los
sacrificios (Friedlnder y Kohn 1865, 11). En opinin de Durn, el estudio de la Torah estaba tan
relacionado con el destino de Israel que el rechazo del mismo entre los judos de Ashkenaz,
a causa de su lamentable dedicacin al estudio
del Talmud, haba ocasionado la persecucin y
las tribulaciones que estos sufran en el s. xIv.
De igual modo, escribe Durn, los judos de Aragn se salvaron de la destruccin gracias al shimush tehillim (recitacin de los Salmos), un tipo de lectura devocional de los salmos que tena
poderes tergicos.
Esta concepcin del poder del cdice bblico se puede apreciar mejor si se sita en el contexto histrico en el que vivi Durn, es decir,
entre los aos 1391 y 1415, momento en el que
la Iglesia en la Pennsula Ibrica se embarc en
una misin particularmente virulenta contra

of God (Friedlnder and Kohn 1865, 14). 7 For


Duran, Torah possesses a segullah , a charged
term that means both a treasured
7
on Duran,
heirloom and a virtually amuletic
see
Gutwirth 1991;
source of special power. Thus, he
Bland 2000,
writes, even eseq (engagement),
8291; and Zwiep
hagiyyah (recitation), and qeriah 2001, 224239.
(reading) alone [without comprehension] are part of avodah (worship) and of that
which will help to draw down the divine influence and providence through the segullah that
adheres in them, because this too is Gods will
(Friedlnder and Kohn 1865, 13). Indeed, he continues, God specifically prepared the Torah for
Israel in its time of exile, so that it could serve as
a miqdash meat (small sanctuary), within whose
pages Gods presence might be found just as it formerly was within the four walls of the Temple;
analogously, he claims that study of Torah atones
for sins just as sacrifices once did (Friedlnder
and Kohn 1865, 11). Indeed, in Durans view, the
study of Torah is so implicated in the fate of Israel that its neglect by the Jews of Ashkenaz, because of their lamentable concentration upon Talmud study, led to their persecutions and travails
in the fourteenth century. So too, Duran writes,
the Jews of Aragon were saved from destruction
only because of their shimush tehillim (recitation of Psalms), a kind of devotional reading of
Psalms with its own theurgic powers.
This conception of the Bible codexs power
can be better appreciated if it is seen against the
background of Durans time, the years between
1391 and 1415 when the Church in the Iberian
Peninsula embarked upon an especially virulous mission against the Jews living in its realms.
By emphasizing the Bibles artifactual power,
Duran was offering his contemporaries an avenue of salvation that was immediately available to them, a sacred shelter inside of which

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los judos. Al enfatizar el poder artefactual de


la Biblia, Durn les estaba ofreciendo a sus contemporneos un medio de salvacin que les fuera accesible, un refugio sagrado dentro del cual
se pudieran dedicar al estudio de la Torah y en
consecuencia pudieran defenderse de la hostilidad del mundo exterior. Esta era la fuerza real
de la analoga del Templo, tal y como Durn
la conceba. No resulta difcil imaginar que, al
contemplar las pginas tapiz con la representacin de los utensilios del Templo, un judo
sefard del s. xIv sintiese la conexin palpable
entre la presencia divina que habitaba el Templo y la Biblia material que contena esas imgenes. Por muy angustiosa que fuese su situacin histrica, estas biblias hacan que sus
poseedores y lectores encontrasen en sus pginas la reconfortante presencia de Dios.
Para Durn, el principal objetivo del estudio de la Biblia era memorizar el texto, y para
cumplir ese objetivo, Durn subraya la dimensin material del cdice bblico. As, le recomienda al estudiante escribir simanim (marcas) mnemotcnicos, al parecer en los mrgenes del texto,
leer siempre del mismo libro, escribir el texto
en letra cuadrada asiria con trazos gruesos y marcados, porque por su belleza esta escritura deja
una huella permanente en el sentido comn y
en la imaginacin, y ms importante todava,
recomienda estudiar siempre en libros de bella
factura, escritura y pginas elegantes, y adornos y encuadernaciones ornados, y que la construccin de las bate ha-midrash (casas de estudio) sea bella y hermosa, pues todo ello favorece
que se le tenga amor al estudio (Friedlnder y
Kohn 1865, 19).
A la hora de justificar estas recomendaciones, Durn vuelve a hacer referencia a la analoga del Templo, diciendo que solo es apropiado decorar y adornar este sagrado libro que

David Stern

they could occupy themselves in Torah study


and thereby defend themselves against the hostile world outside. This was the real force of the
Temple analogy as Duran used it. Indeed, it is
not difficult to imagine how a fourteenth-century Sephardic Jew, looking at the carpet pages
with Temple implement illustrations on them,
would have felt the palpable connection between
the divine presence dwelling in the Temple and
the material Bible containing those images. These
Bibles provided their owners and readers with
a sense of the comforting presence of God within
their pages no matter how beleaguered their historical situation.
For Duran, the principle goal of Bible-study
was memorization of the text, and to accomplish this task, Duran emphasized the material
dimension of the Bible codex. Thus, he writes,
the student should place mnemonic simanim
(notes), presumably in the margins of the text;
he should always read from the same book; the
text studied should be written in square, Assyrian letters inscribed in bold and heavy strokes,
for because of its beauty the impression of this
script remains in the common sense and in the
imagination; and most significant of all for our
concerns, one should always study from beautifully made books that have elegant script and
pages and ornate adornments and bindings, and
the places of studyI mean, the bate ha-midrash
(study-houses)should be beautifully constructed and handsome, for this enhances the love of
study and the desire for it (Friedlnder and
Kohn 1865, 19).
To justify these recommendations, Duran
drew again upon the Temple analogy, saying
that it is only fitting to decorate and beautify
this sanctified book which is a miqdashyah
because it was Gods will that the sanctuary itself be decorated and ornamented with silver

es una miqdashyah porque fue la voluntad de


Dios que el propio santuario estuviera decorado y ornado con oro, plata y piedras preciosas. Por ese motivo, aade Durn, siempre ser
de ayuda que los estudiosos de la Biblia sean
adinerados, para poder as poseer sus propios
libros y no tener que pedirlos prestados. Asimismo, escribe Durn con cierto desprecio, a
los mecenas ricos de esta poca les parece que
simplemente con poseer estos libros les basta
para vanagloriarse, pensando que al guardarlos en sus cofres los estn guardando en sus mentes (Friedlnder y Kohn 1865, 21). Aunque sin
conviccin, al no ser capaz de negar la existencia y el poder social de estos aristcratas,
Durn asegura que, aun as, sus acciones an
tienen cierto mrito, pues consiguen que la Torah sea magnificada y exaltada, y sin ser merecedores de ello, les reportan bendicin a sus
hijos y descendientes (Friedlnder y Kohn 1865,
21). En ello reside el autntico poder artefactual de la Biblia, en que puede ayudar incluso
a quienes no lo merecen.
Durn saba perfectamente que las lujosas
biblias concebidas a modo de templos que estos ricos aristcratas encargaban (los nicos
judos de la Pennsula Ibrica cuya economa
se lo permita), eran libros trofeo, destinados a convertirse en ostentosas muestras de riqueza. Muchas de las biblias que se recogen en
esta exposicin fueron probablemente objetos
de ostentacin. De forma un tanto paradjica,
como ya he mencionado, parece que la produccin de estos libros, que ricos mecenas judos encargaban y posean, repunta a finales
del s. xv (lm. 6), a pesar de la turbulencia poltica y religiosa de la poca. Es como si la enorme inversin de dinero en estos objetos santos
les proporcionase a sus dueos algn tipo de
salvaguarda espiritual.

and gold and fine gems. And for this reason, he


added, it has always been helpful for learned
scholars to be wealthy so as to be able to own
their own books and not have to borrow them.
And so too, he writes with somewhat sharper
derision, the wealthy patrons of his day even
believe that merely possessing these books is
sufficient as self-glorification, and they think
that storing them in their treasure-chests is the
same as preserving them in their minds
(Friedlnder and Kohn 1865, 21). Duran himself
does not believe this, but because he was unable
to deny the social power of these aristocrats, he
nonetheless concedes that there is still merit
for their actions, since in some way they cause
the Torah to be magnified and exalted; and even
if they are not worthy of it, they bequeath a
blessing to their children and those who come
after them (Friedlnder and Kohn 1865, 21).
Therein lies the Bibles real artifactual power.
It can even help those who do not deserve it!
Duran clearly knew that the luxurious Bibles
owned by these rich aristocratsthe only persons in Iberian Jewish society of the time with
the financial means to pay for such Temple-like
Bibleswere trophy-books, commissioned
specifically for ostentatiously displaying their
owners wealth. Many of the Bibles on display
in this exhibit were probably such objects of display and ostentation. Still, the spiritual profits
from showing off should not be lightly dismissed.
Somewhat paradoxically, as I have noted, the
production of these books commissioned and
owned by wealthy Jews appears to have spiked
in the late fifteenth century (Fig. 6), despite the
political and religious turbulence of the period.
It is almost as though the sheer investment of
wealth in such valuable objects of sanctity provided their owners with a kind of spiritual security-blanket.

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74

Lm. 6 / Fig. 6.
Biblia, s. xv. Bible, 14--.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Real Biblioteca, GII8, f. 24r.
Patrimonio Nacional.

01.Biblia Sefarad (Stern) :Maquetacin 1 27/02/12 17:29 Pgina 75

Muchas de las caractersticas que he descrito


como propias de la historia de la Biblia masortica en Sefarad se aplican tambin al ummash,
o Pentateuco litrgico. La caracterstica ms sobresaliente del Pentateuco litrgico es la disposicin global del mismo. En lugar de presentar
el texto bblico en su orden cannico, el Pentateuco litrgico sigue la prctica sinagogal de
leer la Torah en percopas semanales de acuerdo
con un ciclo anual, junto con las haftarot que
acompaan a las lecturas del Pentateuco. Adems, los volmenes incluyen casi siempre los Cinco rollos que se leen con ocasin de las fiestas y
los das de ayuno del calendario judo, e incluso
a veces las secciones de destino funesto tomadas de los libros de Jeremas y Job, que tambin
se lean durante el ayuno de Tishah be-av. La
inclusin de estos pasajes de la Escritura confirma que estos libros estaban destinados a un uso
sinagogal, o en relacin con el servicio litrgico, aunque se desconoce cmo se usaban dentro
del espacio de la sinagoga.
Esta manera de organizar y presentar la Escritura no tena precedentes en la tradicin
oriental de los cdices masorticos. El gnero
del ummash parece haberse originado en
Ashkenaz, y tiene su paralelo en distintos tipos de libros bblicos que se empleaban en el
occidente latino para ser ledos durante la misa, como los epistolarios con lecturas de Pablo
y los Actos de los Apstoles, evangeliarios con
lecturas de los Evangelios y leccionarios de misa que contenan la lectura de las Epstolas y
del Evangelio. No hay, sin embargo, pruebas
de que existiese ninguna influencia entre estos
libros judos y cristianos. A los escribas judos
y cristianos se les pudo fcilmente ocurrir un
tipo de libro similar para solucionar el mismo
problema logstico de disponer de una biblia
para uso litrgico.

Many of the features I have described until


now as characterizing the history of the masoretic Bible in Sepharad are also true of the ummash or liturgical Pentateuch. The most prominent feature of this type of Bible is its overall
organization. Rather than presenting the biblical text in its canonical order, the liturgical Pentateuch follows the synagogal practice of reading the Torah in weekly divisions in an annual
cycle along with the haftarot accompanying the
weekly Pentateuchal readings; the volumes also typically, although not always, include the
Five Scrolls that are also read on various holidays and fast days in the Jewish calendar along
with, at times, the sections of doom from the
prophet Jeremiah and the book of Job, both of
which were also read on the fast day of Tisha
be-av. The inclusion of these specific Scriptural portions are clear indications that these books
were meant for use either inside or in close connection with the synagogue and its liturgical
service although it is not absolutely clear how
they were used within the synagogues four walls.
This way of organizing and presenting Scripture has no precedent in the early Near Eastern
tradition represented by the masoretic codices.
The genre of the ummash appears to have originated in Ashkenaz, and it is paralleled in different types of Bible books that were developed
in the Latin West for biblical readings during
the Mass, such as epistolaries for readings from
the Pauline and Catholic Epistles and Acts, evangelistaries for readings from the Gospels, and
larger Mass lectionaries that contained both the
Epistles and Gospel readings. There is, however, no evidence for any influence between the
Christian and Jewish books. Christian and Jewish scribes could easily have come up with the
similar types of books as obvious ways to solve
the same logistical problem of having a Bible

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El Pentateuco litrgico sefard datado ms


antiguo que se conserva se escribi en 1318 (oxford, Bodleian Library, ms. Kennicott 4), pero
la mayor parte de los ejemplos de este gnero en
Sefarad datan de finales del s. xIv y sobre todo
del s. xv. Si bien es cierto que, en cuanto a sus contenidos y organizacin, son idnticos a los modelos askenazes (pues incluyen parashiyyot semanales de la Torah, haftarot y rollos), muchos
de los sefardes tambin incluyen masora, reflejando sin duda con ello el destacado papel que esta tena en las biblias de Sefarad. En muchos de
estos cdices la masora est escrita con el mismo
tipo de diseo microgrfico geomtrico que se
encuentra en las biblias sefardes masorticas. La
pgina del Pentatuco litrgico que aparece en la
lm. 7 (entrada cat. 45), y que incluye tanto las
haftarot como los cinco rollos, constituye un ejemplo relativamente temprano de este tipo. Como
se puede ver, la masora aparece escrita en una forma geomtrica de manera algo primitiva. El texto que aparece en la pgina es el comienzo de xodo 15, el Canto del Mar Rojo, poema que segn
la ley rabnica se escribe con un tipo especial de
disposicin textual denominada ariyah al gabbe
levanah (lit. medio ladrillo sobre ladrillos).
El Targum no suele aparecer en los ummashim sefardes con tanta frecuencia como aparece
en los Pentateucos askenazes, un hecho que parcialmente se puede deber a la costumbre que exista en las comunidades sefardes de estudiar la
Biblia con el Tafsr de Saadiah Gan. Esta prctica aparece recogida en el testamento que el gran
traductor Jud ibn Tibbon (1120ca. 1190) dej
a su hijo Samuel (que llegara a ser un traductor
tan reputado como su padre), en el cual le aconseja leer cada semana la seccin del Pentateuco
en rabe. Esto te ayudar a mejorar tu vocabulario rabe y te ser de ayuda al traducir, en
el caso de que te interese traducir (Abrahams

David Stern

convenient to use in their respective liturgical


services.
The earliest dated surviving Sephardic liturgical Pentateuch was composed in 1318 (oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Kennicott 4), but
most examples of the genre in Sepharad come
from the late fourteenth- and fifteenth-centuries. While their basic contents and organization are identical to their Ashkenazi counterpartthe weekly parashiyyot of the Torah,
the haftarot , and the scrollsmany of the
Sephardic examples also contain the masorah,
reflecting no doubt the prominent position that
the masorah held in all Bibles in Sepharad. In
a number of these codices the masorah is written in the same kind of micrographic geometrical designs found in Sephardic masoretic Bibles.
The page from the liturgical Pentateuch seen
in Fig. 7 (cat. entry 45), which includes both
the haftarot and the Five Scrolls, is a relatively early example of the type; as one can see,
the masorah is written here in geometrical, albeit somewhat primitive patterns. The text on
the page is the beginning of Exodus 15, the Song
at the Sea, and in line with rabbinic law, the
poem is laid out in the special stichography
called ariyah al gabbe levanah (a half brick over
a full brick).
In comparison to Ashkenazi Pentateuchs,
the Aramaic Targum was less frequently copied
in Sephardic ummashim, a fact that may be
partly explained by a preference in Sephardic
communities to study the Bible with the Tafsr
of Saadiah Gaon. This practice is famously attested in the ethical will that the great translator Judah ibn Tibbon (1120ca. 1190) wrote to
his son Samuel in which he admonished him,
Read every week the Pentateuchal section in
Arabic. This will improve thine Arabic vocabulary, and will be of use in translating, if thou

77

Lm. 7 / Fig. 7.
Biblia litrgica, Toledo, s. xIII. Liturgical Bible, Toledo, 12--.
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, MSS/5469, ff. 73v74r.
Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa.

78

1926, 6566). (vase traduccin del Pentateuco


al judeo-rabe en entrada cat. 5). Un siglo despus, los sabios sefardes empezaron a animar a
sus comunidades a recitar a Rashi en lugar de recitar el Targum. Uno de los primeros en introducir esta sustitucin fue el tosafista Asher ben
Yeiel (ca. 12501327) que se traslad de Alemania a Castilla en 1303. A Asher le sucedi su
hijo Jacob, autor del importante cdigo legal Arba turim [Cuatro columnas], quien estipul que
la lectura de Rashi se considerase equivalente a
la lectura del Targum porque al igual que esta
ltima tambin la primera explicaba el sentido de la Torah, es decir, la forma en la que los
rabinos de poca clsica la entendan. Parece ser
que la preeminencia de Rashi se deba no tanto
a su peshat (interpretacin literal-contextual)
como al hecho de que, en su mayor parte, transmita la tradicin rabnica de forma abreviada y
en un estilo accesible. La adopcin de su comentario en las biblias sefardes es un claro testimonio del modo en que las convenciones askenazes se introdujeron en Sefarad, y a la inversa.
La mencin de Rashi nos lleva al tercer tipo
de biblia que los judos usaron en Sefarad: la biblia de estudio. Como ya se ha sealado, este es
un tipo de biblia que parece haberse producido
con el fin de ser destinada al estudio. El gnero
incluye cdices con ms de un comentario por
pgina, as como otros en los que el comentario
ocupa una posicin tan destacada que es lgico
pensar que tal biblia se produjo especficamente
con el objeto de que se estudiase ese comentario.
La historia de la biblia de estudio est estrechamente relacionada con la historia de la exgesis bblica juda en la Edad Media. En Sefarad, el
estudio de la Biblia ocupaba un lugar central en el
curriculum intelectual y educativo judo, y su status era mucho menos ambiguo del que tena en
Ashkenaz, donde se daba prioridad al estudio del

David Stern

shouldst feel inclined to translate (Abrahams


1926, 6566). (See cat. entry 5, Arabic translation of Pentateuch in Judaeo-Arabic). A century later, Sephardic sages began to encourage their
communities to recite Rashi in place of the Targum. Among the first to introduce this substitution was the tosafist Asher ben Jeiel
( ca . 12501327) who moved from Germany to
Castile in 1303. Asher was followed by his son,
Jacob, the author of the important early legal
code, the Arba turim [Four Columns], who explicitly ruled that reading Rashi was equivalent to reading the Targum because it, too, explained the meaning of the Torahthat is, as
the Rabbis understood it. It appears that Rashis
pre-eminence was due less to his peshat (literalcontextual interpretation) than to the fact that,
for the most part, he presented the abridged rabbinic tradition in an accessible, reader-friendly
style. The adaption of his commentary in
Sephardic Bibles is clear testimony to the way
Ashkenazi conventions were able to penetrate
Sepharad, a phenomenon that also happened in
the opposite direction as well.
The mention of Rashi brings us to the third
type of Bible that Jews used in Sepharad, the
study-Bible. As already noted, this type of Bible
is one that seems to have been intentionally produced for study. The genre includes codices with
more than one commentary on the page as well
as those in which the commentary occupies so
prominent a position that it is fair to assume
that the Bible was produced specifically for
studying that commentary.
The history of the study-Bible is closely intertwined with the history of medieval Jewish biblical exegesis. In Sepharad, Bible study
occupied a central position in the Jewish intellectual and educational curriculum, and possessed a state far less ambiguous than it did in

Talmud. La tradicin exegtica sefard era heredera de la incipiente tradicin gramatical desarrollada por los masoretas, enriquecida ms tarde por el
contacto que los judos del mundo islmico tuvieron con la ciencia filolgica rabe y la filosofa islmica. Ambas disciplinas, filologa y filosofa, fueron centrales en la lectura de la Biblia de toda una
corriente que comenz con Saadiah, gan de Babilonia, y continu con su sucesor Samuel ben ofni, y de una forma ms acentuada an con gramticos andaluses como Yonah ibn an y
exegetas formados en al-Andalus como Abraham
ibn Ezra (10891164). La atencin prestada al estudio de la Biblia como una disciplina esencial continu en los reinos hispanos y zonas vecinas, como Provenza, con exegetas como Namnides
(Moiss ben Namn, 11941270) y David
Kimi (ca. 1160ca. 1235). A pesar de las quejas
sobre el declive del estudio de la Biblia de personalidades como Profiat Durn, se puede hablar
de una historia de la exgesis bblica que se desarrolla de forma continua en Sefarad hasta la Expulsin. A lo largo de todo ese periodo el Pentateuco sigui siendo el pilar fundamental de la
educacin, con los Profetas y los Escritos como
materias ms avanzadas de estudio. Proverbios,
Job y Eclesiasts, se estudiaban de forma intensiva como tratados de tica, y as lo demuestran
los muchos manuscritos que se han conservado
de estos libros con comentarios en sus pginas.
Los comentarios bblicos producidos en Sefarad se escriban como ibburim (composiciones)
independientes, y generalmente incluan introducciones programticas y en ocasiones digresiones cuasi-ensaysticas sobre los problemas que
suscitaba la interpretacin del versculo. Frente a
ello, la mayor parte de los comentarios que se escriban en Ashkenaz eran comentarios individuales al lemma bblico, presentados de manera ordenada, versculo a versculo y captulo a captulo.

Ashkenaz, where Talmud study was emphasized. Sephardic biblical exegesis was the heir
of the nascent grammatical tradition pioneered
by the masoretes and was further enriched by
the exposure of Jews living within the Islamic
orbit to the developing sciences of Arabic philology and Islamic philosophy. Both disciplines
philology and philosophycame to inform the
reading of the Bible by Jews as well in an approach that began already with the Babylonian gaon, Saadiah, and continued with his successor Samuel ben ofni, and even more so, with
later Andalusi Jewish grammarians like Jonah
ibn Jan and later exegetes, trained in al-Andalus, like Abraham ibn Ezra. The attention to
Bible study as a primary discipline continued
into the period of the Hispanic kingdoms, both
in Iberia and in related areas like Provence, with
such commentators as Namanides (Moses ben
Naman, 11941270) and David Kimi (ca. 1160
ca. 1235). Despite the complaints of figures like
Profiat Duran over the waning of Bible study,
it is possible to speak of a continuous history
of biblical commentary in Sepharad until the
Expulsion. Throughout this period, the Pentateuch remained the main focus of education,
while the Prophets and the Writings were considered subjects for more advanced study.
Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes in particular were
studied intensively as ethical tracts, as evidenced
by the number of manuscripts of these books
with commentaries on their pages.
Biblical commentaries produced in Sepharad
were written as independent ibburim (literary
compositions), and regularly included programmatic introductions and sometimes virtually
essayistic explorations of problems raised by a
verse. In Ashkenaz, in contrast, most commentaries were lemmatic, that is, recorded simply
as individual comments, presented in the order

Una introduccin a la historia de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad | The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction

79

80

En ambos mbitos, sin embargo, la mayor parte


de estos comentarios bblicos circulaba en libros
separados o quntresim. La exposicin incluye algunos de estos quntresim (entrada cat. 26, comentario de David Kimi a Isaas; entrada cat. 25, comentario de Namnides a Job; entrada cat. 47,
comentario de Rashi a la Biblia). Muchos de ellos
eran cdices modestos, sin ningn tipo de particularidad, en el que los comentarios se escriban
generalmente con escritura hebrea semicursiva,
tambin llamada letra rabnica, con los comentarios separados por el lemma, es decir, una palabra o expresin bblica que serva para que el lector identificase el pasaje bblico que se estaba
comentando. El quntres ms sobresaliente que
aparece en la exposicin es un comentario a Isaas
y a Profetas Menores (lm. 8) del gran diplomtico, filsofo y exegeta portugus Isaac Abravanel (Lisboa 1437venecia 1508), partes del cual
fueron probablemente copiadas por el propio Abravanel en 1499, poco despus de haber sido expulsado de Castilla, y mientras vagaba en el exilio
por Corf y Apulia (entrada cat. 24).
No sabemos con exactitud cmo se usaban estos quntresim, si se lean con un cdice bblico al
lado, o si se usaban solos, dado que probablemente el estudiante conoca la Biblia de memoria, con
los lemmata sirviendo como simples recordatorios del versculo. Los peligros de es8
Citado a partir de
tudiar de esta manera eran lo bastanPars, Bibliothque
nationale de France, te conocidos para que el exegeta Yosef
ms. hb. 164, en Kimi, padre de David, le recomenSimon 1993, 92; dase al lector tener siempre una covase tambin la pia de la Torah enfrente, para que
cita de Jud ibn as todo estuviese en el lugar correcMosconi, en la to8. En algn momento, sin embarmisma pgina del
go, los copistas empezaron a copiar
artculo de Simon.
biblias con ms de un comentario en
la misma pgina. Es probable que este tipo de biblia de estudio apareciese por primera vez en el

David Stern

of chapters and verses, verse by verse. In both


centers, however, biblical commentaries generally circulated in quntresim. The present exhibit includes a number of these quntresim (cat.
entry 26, David Kimi on Isaiah; cat. entry 25,
Namanides on Job; and cat. entry 47, Rashi
on the Bible). Many of these quntresim were
generally modest if not undistinguished codices
in which the commentaries were typically written in a semi-cursive, so-called rabbinic script,
with their comments typically separated by a
lemma, that is, a word or short phrase from
the Bible that keyed the reader to the comments
scriptural occasion. Probably the most remarkable quntres in this exhibit is a commentary
on Isaiah and the Minor Prophets (Fig. 8) by
the great Portuguese diplomat, philosopher and
exegete Isaac Abravanel (Lisbon 1437venice
1508) sections of which may have been written by Abravanel himself in 1499, shortly after being expelled from Castile, and while he
wandered as an exile in Corfu and Apulia (cat.
entry 24).
We do not know precisely how these quntresim were used, whether they were read alongside biblical codices or studied alone, the Bible
presumably being known by heart by the student, and with the lemmata serv- 8
Cited from Paris,
ing merely as verse-reminders. The
Bibliothque
dangers of studying this way were
national de
apparently sufficiently well-known France, MS hb.
that the twelfth- century exegete 184, in Simon
from Narbonne, Joseph Kimi, the 1993, 92; see as
father of David, had to warn his well the quote
reader always to have a Torah in from Judah ibn
front of him, and then everything Mosconi cited on
will be in the right place.8 At some the same page of
Simons article.
point, however, scribes began to
write Bibles with multiple commentaries on the
same page. This type of study-Bible probably

81

Lm. 8 / Fig. 8.
Isaac Abravanel, Comentario a Isaas y Profetas Menores, Corf y Monpoli, 1499.
Isaac Abravanel, Commentary on Isaiah and Minor Prophets, Corfu and Monopoli, 1499.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Real Biblioteca, GI11, ff. 270v271r.
Patrimonio Nacional.

82

norte de Francia a comienzos del s. xIII, pero en


los ss. xIv y xv la prctica se extendi a los reinos
hispanos, Italia y Alemania. La lm. 9 (entrada
cat. 27), que corresponde a una biblia que data del
s. xv, es un ejemplo destacado en este sentido. Como se puede apreciar, el copista us un formato
de pgina que hoy se conoce como pgina talmdica. De hecho, esta disposicin de la pgina derivaba del formato de pgina de la Glosa, desarrollada entre los siglos xII y xIII por copistas cristianos
para la Biblia cristiana con comentarios patrsticos, formato conocido como Glossa ordinaria, y
fue adaptada por copistas judos en textos cannicos, como la Biblia, que generalmente se estudiaban acompaados de comentarios.
Naturalmente, el formato glosado, en el que
el texto bblico y los comentarios aparecan en la
misma pgina, era muy apropiado para los estudiantes. Pero adems de resultar conveniente, este
formato de pgina tena adems un carcter transformador, pues cambiaba la propia naturaleza del
estudio de la Biblia. Al situar el texto bblico y el
comentario en la misma pgina, el formato hizo
que el estudiar la Biblia con el comentario pasase
a ser normativo. Ms an, al tener el comentario
en la misma pgina el estudioso de la Biblia ya no
la lea de forma secuencial, como hasta entonces
haba hecho, sino verso a verso, con el comentario correspondiente, cuando exista. As, el texto
bblico se atomiz en pequeas unidades lxicas y
semnticas que combinaban versculo e interpretacin. De ese modo, como ha apuntado C. Sirat,
la pgina glosada hizo que texto y comentario estuvieran continuamente contrapuestos y que, fruto de tal contraposicin, se generalizase el hbito
de leer siempre la Biblia con su comentario (Sirat
1997). La presencia de varios comentarios en la misma pgina tambin foment el estudio comparativo de los comentarios bblicos. Este proceso trajo consigo la aparicin de los supercomentarios,

David Stern

first emerged in northern France in the early


thirteenth century, but by the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, had spread to the Hispanic
kingdoms and Italy as well as Germany. Fig. 9
(cat. entry 27) is a remarkable example of such
a Bible dating from the fifteenth century. As
one can see, the scribe appropriated a page format that is best known today as that of the talmudic page. In fact, this page layout derived
from the glossed page format developed by Christian scribes in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries for the Christian Bible with the collected
patristic commentaries known as the Glossa ordinaria, and was then adapted by Jewish scribes
for use in canonical texts like the Bible which
were regularly studied with commentaries.
The glossed format with the biblical text
and commentaries on the same page was obviously a more convenient text for a student
to have and use. But more than being convenient, the page-format was transformative. It
changed the very nature of Bible-study. By
placing the Bible with its commentary on the
same page, the format made studying the Bible
with a commentary normative. Furthermore,
with the commentary on the page, the student
was less likely to read the biblical text sequentially; rather, he now read it verse by verse with
the commentary intervening wherever it existed. The biblical text was thus atomized into
small lexical and semantic units that combined
verse and exegesis. In this way, as C. Sirat has
noted, the glossed page forced the text and commentary constantly to confront each other, and
out of that confrontation, the very habit of
always reading the Bible with commentary also became regularized (Sirat 1997). Multiple
commentaries on the same page also encouraged comparative study of biblical commentaries.
This process led as well to the composition of

83

Lm. 9 / Fig. 9.
Biblia rabnica, s. xv. Rabbinic Bible, 14--.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Real Biblioteca, GI5, f. 21r.
Patrimonio Nacional.

84

o comentarios a los comentarios, un gnero que


comenz a despuntar en Sefarad, donde aparecieron supercomentarios a los comentarios de exegetas como Abraham ibn Ezra. Generalmente, tales
supercomentarios establecen comparaciones entre
los exegetas. A pesar de lo cmodo que resultaba
y de la importancia que tuvo el formato glosado,
a los escribas no les resultaba fcil copiarlos a mano, y el nmero de manuscritos con este formato
es relativamente pequeo en relacin con otros
tipos de biblias. Sin embargo, con la llegada de la
imprenta, y sobre todo a partir de la publicacin
de la segunda Biblia rabnica (venecia 15231524),
que desarroll ms an el formato de la pgina glosada, este tipo de biblia se convirti en la biblia
juda de estudio por excelencia.
El presente ensayo no pretende ser el trabajo definitivo sobre la historia de la Biblia hebrea
en la Pennsula Ibrica antes de la expulsin de
la poblacin juda en la ltima dcada del s. xv,
ni sobre las distintas biblias que existieron en sus
distintas comunidades. Para dar un ltimo ejemplo, a finales del s. xv, en un taller al parecer dedicado a la produccin de biblias y localizado en
Lisboa, se hicieron un grupo de biblias de lujosa
factura, incluyendo tanto biblias masorticas como Pentateucos litrgicos (Sed-Rajna 1970 y
1988). Estas biblias presentan un mismo tipo de
elementos decorativos (pginas con un doble marco de motivos florales y arabescos, uso de pan
de oro, y paneles muy adornados) que reflejan
influencia italiana, flamenca y portuguesa. Es
este uno de los grupos de biblias hebreas ms lujosamente decoradas de cuantas existen. Al igual
que las procedentes de la Castilla del s. xv, dan
prueba de una explosin de creatividad en el momento mismo en que se avecinaba una de las mayores catstrofes de la historia medieval juda.
Asimismo, las traducciones bblicas tambin
ocuparon un importante lugar en Sefarad. Como

David Stern

super-commentaries, commentaries upon commentaries, a genre that especially took off in


Sepharad, with super-commentaries on commentaries of exegetes like Abraham ibn Ezra.
Such super-commentaries regularly compare
one commentator to another. For all its convenience and importance, however, the glossed
format was not easy for scribes to produce by
hand, and the number of manuscripts with this
format is relatively small compared to the other types of Bibles. With printing, however, and
specifically with the publication of the Second Rabbinic Bible (venice 15231524), which
further developed the glossed page format, this
type of study-Bible became the definitive Jewish study-Bible.
The survey I have just completed by no
means exhausts the history of the Hebrew
Bible in the Iberian Peninsula before the expulsion of its Jewish population in the 1490s
or the varieties of Bibles that existed in its
various communities. To give one further example, in the late fifteenth century, a group
of extraordinarily lavish Biblesincluding
both masoretic Bibles and liturgical Pentateuchswere produced in Lisbon, Portugal,
in an atelier apparently specializing in the
production of such Bibles (Sed-Rajna 1970
and 1988). These Bibles share common decorative designsdouble-framed pages with intricate floral and arabesque patterns, the use
of much gold leaf, and highly embellished
panelsthat reflect Italian, Flemish, and Portuguese influence and are among the most
lavish decorated Hebrew Bibles ever produced.
Like their Castilian counterparts in the late
fifteenth century, these Bibles testify to a
burst of creativity at the very brink of one
of the most catastrophic moments in medieval
Jewish history.

podemos ver, la traduccin rabe de la Biblia de


Saadiah Gan se copi muchas veces de forma independiente (entrada cat. 5). A partir de la expulsin de los judos de Castilla y Aragn en 1492,
aparecen biblias hebreas con traducciones latinas,
a veces en forma de traducciones interlineales (entrada cat. 8), con frecuencia con la ayuda de conversos judos al cristianismo. Por ltimo, se ha de
hacer mencin de uno de los libros ms espectaculares de cuantos fueron producidos en la Pennsula Ibrica, joya de la corona de esta exposicin:
la Biblia de Alba. En 1422, Don Luis de Guzmn,
gran maestre de la orden de Calatrava, en un intento de fomentar el entendimiento y la tolerancia entre cristianos y judos, encarg una traduccin de la Biblia hebrea al castellano, con el
comentario de los rabinos. La persona a la que Don
Luis invit para dirigir su proyecto fue Moiss
Arragel, rabino de la comunidad juda de Maqueda, en la provincia de Toledo. Terminada en 1422,
la Biblia de Alba, nombre que se le da en funcin
de su actual propietaria, la Casa de Alba, es una
de las traducciones completas ms antiguas de la
Biblia hebrea a una lengua verncula en la Edad
Media. Tal como han demostrado los especialistas, la traduccin de Arragel est repleta de interpretaciones y traducciones judas. Aunque los artistas que hicieron las magnficas ilustraciones y
decoraciones en la biblia parecen haber sido cristianos, es muy posible que Arragel dirigiese el trabajo artstico, de modo que con frecuencia las ilustraciones contienen motivos e imgenes sacadas
del Midrs y de la tradicin exegtica juda. La
Biblia de Alba, smbolo de reconciliacin y esperanza, representa la consumacin de la larga tradicin de la cultura juda en la Pennsula Ibrica
que, a pesar de haberse visto con frecuencia desgarrada por conflictos religiosos y por la violencia, da prueba del enorme y continuo poder creativo del intercambio y la simbiosis cultural.

In addition, Bibles in translation also occupied an important place in medieval Sepharad.


As we have seen, the Arabic translation of the
Bible by Saadiah Gaon was often copied in its
own book (cat. entry 5), and after the expulsion of the Jews from Castile and Aragon in 1492,
Hebrew Bibles with Latin translations, sometimes in the form of interlinear translations (cat.
entry 8) were produced, often with the help of
converted Jews to Christianity. Finally, there
is one of the most spectacular books ever produced in Sepharad, and the crown jewel of this
exhibitionthe Alba Bible. In 1422, Don Luis
de Guzmn, Grandmaster of the order of Calatrava, with the idea of building understanding
and toleration between Christians and Jews, commissioned a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Castilian. The person whom Don Luis invited to direct this project was Moses Arragel, rabbi
of the Jewish community of Maqueda in the
province of Toledo. Completed in 1422, the Alba Bible, so called after the later owners of the
book, the nobility of the House of Alba, is one
of the earliest complete extant translations of
the Hebrew Bible into the vernacular in the Middle Ages, and as scholars have shown, Arragels
translation was infused with Jewish interpretations and traditions. Although the artists who
provided the lavish illustrations and decorations
in the book may have been Christians, the artistic work, it seems, was also directed by Arragel,
and the illustrations often contain motifs and
images drawn from Midrash and Jewish exegetical tradition. As a work of reconciliation and
hope, the Alba Bible is a fitting consummation
to a lengthy tradition of Jewish culture in
Sepharad that, while often riven by religious
conflict and violence, nonetheless testifies to the
enduring productive power of cultural exchange
and symbiosis.

Una introduccin a la historia de la Biblia hebrea en Sefarad | The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction

85