The People in the Books: Hebraica and Judaica Manuscripts from Columbia University Libraries

Karaites > Karaite scribe and lost books


Mishle ḥakhamim meḥubar be-leshon ʻIvri be-ḥaruz naʾeh.
Manuscript in Hebrew on paper.
Lithuania, 1710.
MS X893 M68
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

This manuscript, while technically containing proverbs and ethical statements, also sheds some light upon the Karaites and eastern European printing history.  The book was printed a few times in the 16th and 17th centuries, with varying translations (including Judeo-Italian and Yiddish).  This manuscript copies the printers' mark of the Cavalli press in Venice, which operated between 1565 and 1568.  There is no extant copy of a Mishle Hakhamim from the Cavalli press today, but there was a copy printed in Venice in 1566 that is no longer in existence.  It seems that the scribe who wrote this manuscript copied it from the 1566 edition, and included the printers' mark in his manuscript.

It is interesting to note that the manuscript was written in a Karaite hand, as elephants were used in Karaite literature to signify the superiority of the Karaite scriptural tradition over the rabbinic tradition.


Mishle hakhamim: 1v


Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /