Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller


London: Facsimile Editions, 1985. Limited edition. Hardcover. 1/500, plus 50 numbered I to L. Unnumbered certificate of authenticity from the Bodleian Library Oxford, signed by the publisher on printed page laid into commentary volume. Folio. 453 leafs (Bible), 97pp (Commentary volume). Original brown morocco goatskin with embossed ornamentation on cover, decor on back cover and edges. Embossed lettering on front cover of commentary volume and blind tooling on spine, housed in a built-in slip case with pull-lever. Both volumes with raised bands. Clamshell box in marine blue cloth with tan lettering on labels of spine, and blind-stamped, embossed lettering on cover. Inside lined with marine blue velvet. Leather clasp.

The Bible is bound in original brown morocco goatskin box binding, blind-embossed on all six sides with handmade dies. All edges gilt with 23 carat gold leaf. The Kennicott Bible is the most lavishly illuminated Hebrew Bible to survive from medieval Spain and combines Islamic, Christian, and popular motifs. The Bible has an inscription identifying the artist, rare in Hebrew manuscripts. The Bible owes its name to the English Hebraist Benjamin Kennicott (1718-83), who acquired it while librarian of the Radcliffe Library, Oxford. The history of the manuscript between the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the 18th century remains a mystery.

Published as a sumptuous facsimile after five and a half years in the making, the Kennicott Bible facsimile, inspired and enthusiastically supported by the late David Patterson, was acclaimed by many libraries, including the Bodleian Library, as the best quality that had ever been achieved in a facsimile. This was partly due to the excellent condition of the original manuscript, but to a greater extent to the undiminishing quest for perfection at every stage of its reproduction. The manuscript contains the entire Tenakh (Old Testament) together with RaDaK’s (Rabbi David Kimchi) Sefer Mikhlol, a grammatical treatise on the Tenakh. Two hundred and thirty-eight of the 922 pages of the Bible are illuminated with lively colors, burnished gold and silver leaf: 24 canonical book headings, 49 parashah headings structured with gold in different motifs featuring figures in many colors, 27 lavishly-illuminated arcaded pages framing the text of the Sefer Mikhlol, 9 fully illuminated carpet pages, 150 psalm headings, numbered and illuminated with gold and silver. In a unique statement at the end of the manuscript, the Jewish artist Joseph Ibn Hayyim writes his own colophon.

The commentary volume deals with the physical description of the manuscript telling the story of its creation and programmme. The illustrations are studied for their style and origin and the unique artistry of Joseph Ibn Hayyim is discussed in a special chapter interpreting his relations to both, the older and contemporary art of Spain. This fascinating story is told in a popular manner, with the thorough knowledge of experts augmenting the understanding of the Kennicott Bible for laymen and scholars alike. Printed leaf with handling instruction laid in.

Clamshell box with light rubbing and clasp broken but remains present. Signed publisher's leaf with some sunning at top. The following blemishes are as reproduced from the original manuscript: "Inside front cover with some staining along bottom edges, not affecting image. First three leaves with staining along bottom edge, only slightly affecting decorative edges. Free endpaper and page with ornament with some spradic staining, not affecting image." vg+ to fine. Item #52808
ISBN: 0948223006

Price: $6,500.00