Up In Arms
Images of Knights and the Divine Chariot in Esoteric Ashkenazi Manuscripts of the Middle Ages
This study is designed to illuminate the reflection of esoteric ideas in Hebrew illuminated manuscripts from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century in Ashkenaz (German lands), with a focus on images of knights and Ezekiel's vision of the divine Chariot. It is divided into three parts according to manuscript genres: Prayer books, Masoretic Bibles, and a Passover Haggadah. It provides a comprehensive description of texts and illuminations concerned with the ideas of the Hekhalot literature and two principal esoteric traditions in Ashkenaz: the Qalonymus family – Rabbi Judah the Pious (d. 1217)and his student Rabbi Eleazar of Worms, as well as Rabbi Judah's grandson, Rabbi Eleazar ben Moshe the preacher; and Rabbi Nehemiah ben Shlomo Troestlin, the Prophet from Erfurt, active in the first third of the thirteenth century. The book examines the images and the texts together in conjunction with military history.The novelty of this study is in a holistic reappraisal of the manner in which we think about illustration in connection with text, the Christian milieu, and the possible meaning the images had for the patron.
Sara Offenberg is a senior lecturer at the Department of Arts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Her research interests are Jewish-Christian relations in medieval art and literature; the image of the Jew in art and literature; German Pietists; Piyyut Commentary; Hebrew illuminated prayer books.