An illustration from the Apocrypha in an eighteenth century Passover Haggadah

This essay calls attention to an unusual manuscript illustration included in two eighteenth-century Passover haggadot produced by Nathan ben Abraham Speyer of Breslau. The illustration apparently portrays the legendary visit of the prophet Habakkuk to Babylon, a journey whose purpose was to provide...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Hebrew Union College annual
Main Author: Reeves, John C.
Format: Print Article
Language:English
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Published: 1988
In:Hebrew Union College annual
Year: 1988, Volume: 59, Pages: 253-268
Further subjects:B Passover
B Jüdische Liturgie
B Iconography
Description
Summary:This essay calls attention to an unusual manuscript illustration included in two eighteenth-century Passover haggadot produced by Nathan ben Abraham Speyer of Breslau. The illustration apparently portrays the legendary visit of the prophet Habakkuk to Babylon, a journey whose purpose was to provide sustenance for Daniel during his sojourn in the den of lions. This legend forms part of the apocryphal 'Bel and the Dragon' narrative, an addition to the book of Daniel which achieved canonical status in Christian tradition. While it is puzzling that Speyer would have included a scene based upon Christian scripture, it must be remembered that traces of the 'Bel and the Dragon' story are present in rabbinic and medieval Jewish literature, including the Habakkuk episode which Speyer's drawing portrays. It seems likely that Speyer was recalling one of these Jewish sources when he produced his illustration.
ISSN:0360-9049
Contains:In: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Hebrew Union College annual