Illuminated Haggadot from Medieval Spain

Biblical Imagery and the Passover Holiday

By (author) Katrin Kogman-Appel

Hardback - £105.95

Publication date:

05 October 2006

Length of book:

464 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271027401

Emerging in Spain after 1250, Jewish narrative figurative painting became a central feature in a group of illuminated Passover Haggadot in the early decades of the fourteenth century. Illuminated Haggadot from Medieval Spain describes how the Sephardic Haggadot reflect different visualizations of scripture under various conditions and aimed at a variety of audiences. Though the specifics of the creation of these works remain a mystery, this book delves into the cultural struggles that existed during this period in history and shows how those conflicts influenced the work.

The culture surrounding the creators of the Sephardic Haggadot was saturated in conflict revolving around acculturation, polemics with Christianity, and struggles within Sephardic Jewry itself. Kogman-Appel presents the Sephardic Haggadot as visual manifestations of a minority struggling for cultural identity both in relation to the dominant culture and within its own realm.

“Katrin Kogman-Appel of Ben-Gurion University, in her splendid new book examining the sources of five rare early 14th-century Haggadot from Aragon and Catalonia, revives the distinct possibility that the Jews were originally the pioneers of the images of the biblical narrative.”

—Meir Ronnen, Jerusalem Post