LJS 470 and LJS 471: Medicine & Magic

On February 9 we brought out two manuscripts from the Schoenberg Collection, both Hebrew manuscripts written in Italy. The first one was LJS 470, a 16th century collection of medical recipes, folk remedies, charms, and spells, which was joined by LJS 471, a volume of 14th-century Latin medical works translated into Hebrew and copied in the late 14th or 15th century.

Both manuscripts contain several different texts – although there is no overlap of texts between them – and much of the content consists of recipes or prescriptions for treating particular ailments. In the gallery above, both pages show such lists. The scribe of 471 includes rubrics in the outer margin, while the scribe of 470 numbers the recipes at the start of the line.

In addition to medical texts, LJS 470 also includes magical texts including spells. Some of these texts include symbols and diagrams, such as the one shown above.

LJS 470 includes a few entries written in Italian. It’s unclear why some of the entries are in Hebrew and others are in Italian, and although the scripts are very different between the two languages it is likely that both languages were written by the same scribe.

While LJS 470 was all written by a single scribe, LJS 471 was written by a number of people and notes were added over a period of time – see here on f. 1r, where notes in various hands sit alongside a library stamp.

Find out more about LJS 470 and LJS 471 by watching the recording of Coffee With A Codex for February 9 on YouTube, and you can view the digitized version and read the full catalog records on Franklin (LJS 470, LJS 471)

We host Coffee With A Codex every Wednesday at 12pm ET / 5pm GMT on Zoom. For a schedule three weeks ahead, visit our main page here.

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