Jew­ish Text

The Lom­bard Haggadah

Mil­via Bol­lati, Flo­ra Cassen, and Marc Michael Epstein

  • Review
By – March 30, 2020

The Lom­bard Hag­gadah takes its place in the col­lec­tion of out­stand­ing fac­sim­i­les of rare medieval Hag­gadot. The first stand-alone Ital­ian Hag­gadah — one that is not part of a sid­dur — it dates to the four­teenth cen­tu­ry. Repro­duced in a hand­some large-for­mat vol­ume for study and appre­ci­a­tion, it includes essays by lead­ing schol­ars on Jew­ish life in Lom­bardy, the artis­tic sources and inspi­ra­tion of the Hag­gadah, and the mean­ings and ambi­gu­i­ties in the illus­tra­tion. For the lay read­er the del­i­cate­ly beau­ti­ful art, appear­ing on almost all of the sev­en­ty-five pages, are reward enough, show­ing the dress, envi­ron­ment, house­hold life of the Jew­ish Lom­bard com­mu­ni­ty, and influ­ence of Chris­t­ian art. The entire Hag­gadah is repro­duced in the clos­ing sec­tion; in addi­tion to the seder, the vol­ume includes a few sto­ries from Gen­e­sis and Exo­dus, and a cat­a­logue of month­ly labors akin to a book of days.

Maron L. Wax­man, retired edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor, spe­cial projects, at the Amer­i­can Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry, was also an edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor at Harper­Collins and Book-of-the-Month Club.

Discussion Questions