Vatican publishes catalogue of Hebrew manuscripts

The publication of a catalogue of Hebrew manuscripts held by the Vatican is taken as a sign of increased cooperation between the Holy See and Israel.

A January 20 communique from the Vatican announced that at on January 3o in the conference hall at Via dell'Ospedale 1, Rome, a presentation will take place of a newly-published book entitled "Hebrew Manuscripts in the Vatican Library: Catalogue" which is published by the Vatican Library.

Among those participating in the event will be Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church; Mordechay Lewy, ambassador of Israel to the Holy See; Msgr. Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, and Benjamin Richler, former director of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts of the Jewish National and University Library.

According to the communique, the book represents a significant example of co-operation between the cultural institutions of the Holy See and of Israel. It is a catalogue of all Vatican manuscripts in Hebrew script - a total of around 800 items distributed over eleven collections - edited by the technical staff of the National Library of Israel whose job it is to conserve and study microfilmed Hebrew manuscripts located in various parts of the world.

The new volume is of particular importance because it comes more than fifty years after the inventory prepared by Umberto Cassuto (Moshe David Cassuto 1883-1951), and is the first catalogue to appear since the "Catalogus" published in the eighteenth-century by Giuseppe Simonio Assemani, "First Custodian" of the Vatican Library.

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