Catalonia?, Spain, 1391, 11 7/8 x 8 1/4 in. (30.2 x 21 cm), MS. Pococke 376, fol. 3a

The French biblical commentator, philosopher, and astronomer Gersonides (Levi ben Gershon, 1288–1344) wrote the treatise "Milhamot ha-Shem" to build upon the work of Aristotle, Maimonides, and other predecessors. The text explores the nature of human and divine knowledge. This copy is open to the beginning of the first book, a discussion of the immortality of the soul. By 1514 the manuscript was in Ottoman Turkey, as indicated by an inscription documenting its sale to a physician in the city of Adrianople (modern Edirne). The manuscript later belonged to Edward Pococke (1604–91), England's leading Orientalist in the seventeenth century, Regius Professor of Hebrew, the first Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford, and ex officio curator of the Bodleian. The magnificent collection of manuscripts he amassed, mostly while serving as a chalpain in Syria, was purchased by the Bodleian in 1692. It comprised more than four hundred volumes, largely in Arabic but including some one hundred Hebrew manuscripts.


  1. Ignacio Götz

    I wonder if there is a manuscript of al-Ghazali’s Munkid min al-Dalal that could have been in the Library, in translation to Latin, before 1632.