We regret to inform users that this resource is no longer available. The site has been withdrawn as the technologies which it is built with have reached end-of-life.
Alternative digital editions of MS. Huntington 80 (Mishneh Torah) and MS. Pococke 295 (Commentary on Mishnah) can be accessed via digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk.
15 April 2020
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Preface from the original site
"Corrected against my own book -I, Moses,
son of Rabbi Maymun of blessed memory."
(Bodleian Libraries, MS. Huntington 80, fol. 165r)
Bodleian Libraries, MS. Huntington 80
The Bodleian Libraries are the proud custodian of Maimonides' authorized copy of his major halakhic work, the Mishneh Torah, a code meant to collect disparate rulings and present them "succinctly and clearly, so that all the Oral Torah will be easily accessible to all. (Introduction to the Mishneh Torah, fol. 3). A later owner of the copy, a certain Eleazar, son of Perahya, stipulated in his will that this and the other volumes of the Code (now lost) should remain in the public domain for consultation:
"and in its entirety be placed in keeping of the Bet Din forever, that it not be sold or redeemed, nor should any single person ever take possession of it. It should rather be kept available so that all scholars can correct their own version against it, but not read from it regularly or copy from it. Rather, anyone wishing to correct his version shoudl borrow the volume he needs from the Bet Din, leaving a bond against its value with the Bet Din, until he corrects his own book and returns it. It is a mizvah to fulfill the words of the deceased, [and let no one] alter this testament".
(Facsimile, p. VII)
A number of copies of the Mishneh Torah from the 13th to the 16th centuries contain statements to the effect that they have been corrected from this by Maimonides himself authorized version. Thus David ibn Zimra, rabbi of Cairo in the early 16th century, wrote: 'I have examined the passage in all the old manuscripts here in Cairo, which was the residence of our master, and in a corrected manuscript which is said to have been corrected from a manuscript corrected by himself and which is to the present day in Aleppo,' (Stern, "Autographs", p. 192).
In line with with will of Eleazar ben Perahya the Bodleian Libraries have always granted access to this precious document of Jewish Law. Conservation concerns and practical considerations, however, have thus far limited the possibility of consulting this authorized version of the Code. Modern technology once and for all has overcome these limitations and enables the Bodleian Libraries in an unexpected way to perform the religious duty (mizvah) of fulfilling words of the deceased by giving universal access to the Mishneh Torah, authorized and approved by Maimonides.
We are indebted to Mr George Blumenthal, who through his most generous support enabled the digitisation of this unique manuscript. The digital imaging of this manuscript was done by the well-known photographer Ardon Bar-Hama.