The Best-Loved Books
Title page, from: Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides), Mishnayot (i.e. Explanations) with Commentary by Bartenura, Venice: 1586
Maimonides (1135-1204) is one of history’s most influential Jewish thinkers. Christians also read Maimonides’ medical and philosophical works, such as his Guide for the Perplexed which compared Aristotle with Jewish theology. On display is his Mishnah Torah, his codification of Jewish law, with added commentary by Obadiah ben Abraham of Bartenura. Bartenura was exiled from Spain 1492 and settled in Jerusalem with other exiles, founding a yeshivah (advanced school for Jewish learning). This copy most likely had a Jewish owner owing to the Hebrew annotations and drawings of a menorah on both endpapers (next pictures).