Unsolved Mystery #2: The Book of Ruth

IMG_6313Thanks for the interest in our first Unsolved Mystery post!  We're presenting these items as great opportunities for students or faculty to do some original research – so if you'd like to work on any of these materials, let us know.

The next item in the series is a small Hebrew scroll with a wooden handle.  We refer to it as the Book of Ruth, since that's the identification of the text on its label.  But since none of us reads Hebrew, we haven't verified whether Ruth is actually the text.  Mr. David Birnbaum, a Hebrew Biblical text scholar from the University of Chicago Law School, confirms that our scroll manuscript is indeed the Book of Ruth. [added 10/31/2013]

IMG_6305This Hebrew text is manuscript on parchment and is clearly the work of two scribes.  The entire piece measures about 7 inches tall, including the handle.  We assume that its small size and humble materials indicate that it was used for personal study, but that's just our conjecture. 

Where was the scroll produced?  How old is it?  And how did it get here?

As always, feel free to email us at SpecialCollections@missouri.edu with any information – and stay tuned next week for another Unsolved Mystery from the Special Collections vault.

Kelli Hansen is Print Collections Librarian in Special Collections and Rare Books, where she focuses on outreach, instruction, and reference.

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