Wednesday, October 22, 2003

It should not surprise any reader of this blog that I adore medieval manuscripts, nor should it be a stunner that I appreciate obscure details of Jewish history. I'm sure you'll all be shocked when you learn that I also enjoy learning about rarely-attested careers open to medieval women. For all these reasons, I'm ecstatic to have learned about a Fourteenth-Century Female Jewish Scribe and her Definitely Male Dragon.

Not only did this woman actually sign her name, Chana bat Menachem Zion, she also provided lovely doodles on her copy of a thirteenth-century Hebrew household guide. One of her marginalia is a dragon, which dragon Chana endowed with a penis both quite long and decidedly erect. The manuscript description at the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, the Netherlands, says that Chana was divorced. Wonder what she was thinking?

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