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February 23, 2021 9:55 am

Israel’s National Library Gains Gift of Rare 15th-Century Scroll of Esther

avatar by JNS.org

The National Library of Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – One of the world’s oldest scrolls of Esther was recently gifted to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, the library’s blog announced on Monday.

The scroll, dating from medieval times, was a gift from long-standing supporters of the library Michael Jesselson and his family.

Scholars have determined that the scroll, known as Megillat Esther in Hebrew, was written by a scribe on the Iberian Peninsula around 1465, prior to the Spanish and Portuguese expulsions that happened at the end of the 15th century. Their estimation was based on both stylistic and scientific evidence, including Carbon-14 dating.

According to Yoel Finkelman, the curator of the library’s Haim and Hanna Salomon Judaica Collection, the new addition is “an incredibly rare testament to the rich material culture of the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the earliest extant Esther Scrolls, and one of the few 15th-century Megillot in the world.”

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