Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College, the Center for Jewish History and Yeshiva University Museum last weekend opened an exhibition of breath-taking treasures seen in America for the first time.
“500 Years of Treasures from Oxford” chronicles Corpus Christi College’s pioneering role in the study of scripture, humanities and sciences over the course of five centuries. The extraordinary exhibit features an array of ancient manuscripts, early printed books and Tudor silver. The Hebrew collection has been called the most important collection of Anglo-Jewish manuscripts in the world. The College’s Special Collections are normally kept in a vault and rarely accessible, except to researchers.
The exhibition will continue through Aug. 6 at Yeshiva University Museum, based at the Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St.).
Among the 50 scintillating works are a 1,000-year old Greek manuscript, a design by Dürer and the first publications of the scientific revolution. Visitors will see a late 12th-century Ashkenazi siddur (book of daily prayers), thought to be the oldest extant anywhere. Owned by a Sephardic Jew from the Iberian Peninsula who had emigrated to England, it contains his hand-written notes in Judeo-Arabic on his business dealings.
Other priceless objects include a 13th-century manuscript of Samuel and Chronicles that was used by Christians to learn Hebrew and two of the oldest manuscripts of Rashi in the world.