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Bodleian Library

BODLEIAN LIBRARY, the official library of the University of Oxford, named after Sir Thomas *Bodley who refounded it. It is one of the world's greatest libraries, and second in importance in England only to the British Museum.

There were Hebrew books and manuscripts in Bodley's original collection, supplemented gradually by gift and purchase in the course of the next two centuries: especially memorable were those from the collections of Archbishop William Laud (1641), John Selden (1654, 1659), Edward Pococke (1691), Robert Huntingdon (1693). In 1829, the University of Oxford purchased for the Bodleian the whole of the fine collection that had formerly belonged to David *Oppenheim , and the library immediately rose to first rank among the Hebrew collections of the world. Later, there were added also the collection of the Hamburg bibliophile Heimann Joseph Michael in 1848, many manuscripts from the collection of Isaac Samuel Reggio in 1853, and in due course large numbers of fragments from the Cairo Genizah. The Library now comprises about 3,100 Hebrew and Samaritan manuscripts – still perhaps qualitatively the most important in the world – as well as a remarkably full collection of early printed works. The manuscripts have been described fully in the catalog (vol. I, ed. by A. Neubauer, 1886; vol. II, ed. by A. Cowley, 1906). In 1994 a "Supplement of Addenda and Corrigenda" to the catalog was printed. The printed books formed the material for M. Steinschneider's fundamental work of Hebrew bibliography (Catalogus Librorum Hebraeorum in Bibliotheca Bodleiana, 1852–60) – not, however, restricted to books – and of the more succinct recent catalog edited by A. Cowley (1929).


E.N. Adler, in: JHSET, 8 (198), 2ff.

[Cecil Roth]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.