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Marsh's Library Exhibits

Jewish Books at Marsh’s Library

an online exhibition

About


The founder of Marsh’s Library, Archbishop Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713), was a clergyman and scholar. Before coming to Dublin, Marsh studied near-Eastern languages at Oxford, and developed an abiding interest in the Hebrew language and Jewish tradition.

A closer look at the books in the Library that bears his name points to Narcissus Marsh’s interest in Jewish books, as well as a broader interest in Judaism. Within the Library’s extraordinary collection of early modern works there are over 250 such volumes representing Hebrew Bibles, Talmudic texts, rabbinic writings, and Yiddish books. Of these, nearly 150 can be traced back to Marsh’s personal collection.

The images presented here give a sample of the wide-ranging collection of Jewish books in the Library. They also point to the surprisingly rich inter-cultural engagement that was taking place in 17th and 18th century Ireland.

Text and coding by Dr Marie Léoutre.

Exhibit


Click thumbnails to see more


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1. Hebrew Torah with Targum
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2. Yiddish Bible
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3. Haggadah
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4. Sefer olat tamid, with reference to Dublin
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5. Menorat Ha-Ma’or (Candelabra of Light)
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6. Commentary on the Torah, by Moses ben Nachman
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7. Hebrew Lexicon, David Kimḥi
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8. Ashkenazi Prayer Book
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9. Sefer Rabbot (Midrash Rabbah)
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10. Walton Polyglot
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11. Book of Psalms (Sefer Tehilim)
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12. Jerusalem Talmud (Talmud Yerushalmi)
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13. Giveat Shaul (Saul’s Gibeah)
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14. Shevet Yehudah (Sceptre of the Jews)
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15. Sifte Yeshenim (Bibliographic work)
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16. Seder Tefilot (Sephardi Prayer Book)
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17. Sefer emunot ve-de’ot (The Book of Beliefs and Opinions)
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18. Sefer peri hadash (The Book of New Fruits)
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19. Perush HaTorah (Commentary on the Torah, Isaac Abravanel)
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20. Latin Version of Targum Onqelos
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21. Milhamoth ha-Shem (The War of the Lord, Levi ben Gershom)
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22. Sefer Ḥovat ha-levavot (Duties of the Heart)
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23. Reused Yiddish Bible (Commentary on Seder Nezikin)
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24. Hebrew Minor Prophets with Targum and Commentary
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25. Hebrew Bible (with Arabic annotation)
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26. Midrash Tanhuma
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27. Sefer Masoret ha-Masoret, with Manicule
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28. Sefer HaMagid
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29. A Bosome Opened to the Jewes
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30. Americans No Jewes

Credits


Exhibition curated by Brad Anderson

School of Theology, Philosophy and Music, Dublin City University


Dr Anderson’s teaching and research focuses on the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, as well as the use and impact of these texts down through the centuries. His research also explores how sacred texts are employed in the contemporary world, from iconic uses to the rise of digital culture. Brad is a former president of the Irish Biblical Association (IBA), and an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), the Society for Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts (SCRIPT), and the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR).

This project builds on important research done by two scholars who have explored the Jewish books in Marsh’s Library. Professor Shlomo Berger of the University of Amsterdam curated an exhibit for the Library in 2014–15 entitled, ‘From Lublin to Dublin (by way of Amsterdam)’, shortly before his untimely death. For this project we have drawn on some of the valuable collating and observations that were made by Professor Berger. In 2017, Dr Javier del Barco, a Senior Research Fellow at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Madrid, undertook three months of research on the Jewish books in Marsh’s Library, in conjunction with the international ‘Footprints’ project, which is tracing the history of Jewish books. Dr Del Barco made a number of significant discoveries and observations in his research, several of which have been noted in this digital exhibition.


Marsh's Library gratefully acknowledges the support of the Irish Research Council for this digital exhibition through its New Foundations funding scheme.

Contact The Library


Email: information@marshlibrary.ie

Phone: +353 1 4543511

The library is open to visitors: see here for opening hours and directions.