On View for the First Time in 100 Years: An Exquisite Medieval Haggadah

A few months ago, I was approached with a request to become involved in a then-secret mission: to examine one of the very few high-medieval Haggadahs still in private hands.

A page from the Lombard Haggadah. Les Enluminures.

A page from the Lombard Haggadah. Les Enluminures.

Observation
April 23 2019
About the author

Marc Michael Epstein is professor of religion and visual culture and director of Jewish studies at Vassar College. He is the author of, among other books, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (2011) and Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts (2015).


A few months ago, a highly regarded expert in medieval manuscripts approached me with a request to become involved in a then-secret mission. Sandra Hindman is a scholar who—through her Les Enluminures galleries in Paris, Chicago, and New Yorkaids and guides libraries, institutions, and private individuals in acquiring some of the best and last-surviving products of medieval illuminators and their workshops. To this end, she has issued a series of meticulously researched catalogues describing and interpreting such manuscripts. Although it’s unusual for her to devote one of these catalogues to a single manuscript, this one, Hindman felt, was worthy of the attention. Would I have a look?

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More about: Arts & Culture, Haggadah, Passover, Religion & Holidays