Lot 12
  • 12

Illustrated Sefer Evronot, [Germany]: 1668

20,000 - 30,000 USD
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  • ink, paper, leather
71 leaves (8 x 6 1/4 in.; 202 x 160 mm). Written in brown ink on paper in Ashkenazic semi-cursive Hebrew script; some headings in square script; with decorated initial word panels, a few decorated initial letters, as well as numerous charts and illustrations, some hand colored in green and red washes. Contemporary foliation in ink using Hebrew letters, 1-60, 1-11; modern foliation, 1-71, in pencil. Folio 24 with triple-dial volvelles on both recto and verso, smallest dial is detached but present; f. 23 with single-dial volvelles on recto and verso, from a printed edition. Browning, soiling and light staining. Dampstain with loss to inside margin f. 21, repaired, affecting some text on ff. 21-22. Outer margin f. 48 torn away not affecting text; a few other marginal tears. Early vellum, illustrated with a set of scales, a sword, and the astrological glyph for Libra; soiled.


Ber of Fulda- his inscription on cover


Elisheva Carlebach, Palaces of Time: Jewish Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe, Harvard University Press: 2011; Joshua Straus, Calculating Celestial Cycles, Courses and Conjunctions: An Introduction to Sifrei Evronot ,Washington University: 2006; Barry B. Levy, Planets, Potions and Parchments: Scientifica Hebraica from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Eighteenth Century, Montreal: 1990.

Catalogue Note

As early as the twelfth century in medieval Ashkenaz, small treatises concerning calendar calculation had been included as parts of larger liturgical works. In the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century, elaborated versions of the text began to appear as a self-standing genre. These new examples, called  Evronot, contained the information and rules necessary for fixing the Jewish calendar. Based on lunations (time between new moons), these computations determined the lengths of individual months, the scheduled intercalation of leap years, the solstices and equinoxes that begin each of the four seasons, and by extension, the dates of all holidays of the Jewish liturgical year. Evronot often included midrashic material attesting to the antiquity, divine provenance, and uniqueness of the Jewish calendation system. By the mid-sixteenth century, scribes and artists begin to illustrate these volumes in a distinct fashion. As a result, aside from their practical use as sources of calendrical information, manuscripts of this type served as vehicles for the transmission of folk-art motifs.

Jews in the late Middle Ages and early Modern period, particularly those whose livelihood was bound up in commercial trade, were required to be able to effectively interact with their Christian neighbors. This necessitated a working knowledge of the general outlines of the Christian calendar in addition to their own. Accordingly, this volume includes charts containing the months and fixed saints' days of the Christian ecclesiastical year as well as the dates of important trade fairs, such as the annual Frankfurter Messe. The dates of such fixed observances such as the solstices, also incorporated, indicate that the Gregorian calendar reforms which were inaugurated in 1582 had not yet been enacted in the region where this Evronot  was produced in 1668. An ownership note on the vellum binding suggests that this work may have been made in Fulda, in Hesse.