Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford University

MS. Canonici Or. 59

Oriental Manuscripts Canonici Oriental Collection


Meshal ha-Ḳadmoni

ff. 51r-57r (folios are not in order, see collation)
Sahula, Isaac ben Solomon, active 13th century, Meshal ha-Ḳadmoni (Parable of the Ancient) משל הקדמוני

The beginning of the introduction is missing, Latin and Hebrew notes on fol. 57v

Language(s): Hebrew

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ff. 57
Dimensions (leaf): 280 × 195 mm.
Foliation: Foliation in Arabic numerals. The folios are bound in the following order: 51, 21-26, 1-20, 27-50, 52-57.


8 quires: i 6 (fols. 21-26), ii 6 (fols.1-6), iii 8 (fols.7-14), iv 6 (fols. 15-20), v-vii 8 (fols. 27-34, 35-42, 43-50), viii 6 (fols. 52-57), no signatures. Some catchwords, not necessarily at the end of the quires.


One or two columns.


Ashkenazi cursive script.


Numerous textual ilustrations inserted into the body of the text and in the margins.


Leather binding, gold-tooled.


Origin: [Ashkenaz]; [ca.1500]

Provenance and Acquisition

Matteo Luigi Canonici's (1727-1805) collections passed to his brother Giuseppe, and on his death in 1807 to Giovanni Perissinotti and Girolamo Cardina, who divided them. To the former fell the MSS., then about 3550 in number, and, after many attempts to sell them, the Bodleian became the purchaser of the greater part in 1817, for £5444 5s. 1d., or including incidental expenses about £6030, the largest single purchase ever made by the Library. The formal list of volumes handed over was signed on May 18, 1817, and the books probably arrived later that year.

Record Sources

Manuscript description based on Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, vol. I, by Adolf Neubauer, Oxford 1886, No. 1406, Catalogue of the Hebrew manuscripts in the Bodleian Library; Supplement of Addenda and Corrigenda to Vol. I, No. 1406, and on the data of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, National Library of Israel with additional enhancements by the cataloguer.


Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures contact Bodleian Admissions). Contact specialcollections.enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


MSS R.R. Film No. F 22430


    Neubauer, Adolf, Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (Oxford, 1886), no. 1406.
    Beit-Arié, Malachi and R.A. May (eds), Catalogue of the Hebrew manuscripts in the Bodleian Library; Supplement of Addenda and Corrigenda to Vol. I (A. Neubauer’s Catalogue) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), no. 1406.
    Batterman, Michael, 'Bread of Affliction, Emblem of Power: The Passover Matzah in Haggadah Manuscripts from Christian Spain', in Imagining the Self, Imagining the Other: Visual Representation and Jewish-Christian Dynamics in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, ed. Eva Frojmovic (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 72.
    סימונה גרונמן, כתבי היד המאוירים של משל הקדמוני מאת יצחק אבן סהולה שנשמרו מהמאה החמש עשרה (באשכנז (דיסרטציה--האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים, 2006