Hebrew Biblical manuscripts of Benjamin Kennicott

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Kennicott 1-10, 12, 17-18; MSS. Kennicott a. 1, b. 1-3, c. 1-11, 13-26, d. 1-26, e. 34-43
  • Dates of Creation
      1222-15th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Hebrew, Other Semitic, Syriac, and Arabic.
  • Physical Description
      78 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Hebrew Biblical manuscripts of Benjamin Kennicott. The collection includes an outstanding example Sephardic manuscript art in the 'Kennicott Bible', copied in 1476 (MS. Kennicott 1).

Administrative / Biographical History

Benjamin Kennicott (1718-83) was a Hebraist. He was educated and worked most of his life in Oxford. He was the first to systematically examine and produce a collation of the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament. His chief work was Vetus Testamentum hebraicum cum variis lectionibus, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1776-80). See the Dictionary of National Biography for details.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk).

Acquisition Information

In 1760 Kennicott sent the Library the manuscript collations that he had then made. The remainder of his collations, with his correspondence and miscellaneous codices, were originally deposited in the Radcliffe Library, of which Kennicott was Librarian from 1767 to 1783. They were transferred to the Bodleian Library in 1872.


Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Brief descriptions are in the card catalogue, arranged by language, located in the Oriental Reading Room.

Some of the Kennicott manuscripts are in A. Neubauer and A.E. Cowley Catalogue of the Hebrew manuscripts in the Bodleian library, and in the College Libraries of Oxford, 2 vols., Catalogi Codd. MSS. Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars xii, (Oxford, 1886-1906), vol. 1. More recently, a 'Supplement of Addenda and Corrigenda', which has to be used in conjunction with Neubauer's Catalogue, was published (Oxford 1994).

Related Material

Kennicott's manuscripts in Western languages (MSS. Kennicott 13-16, c. 12).


A full-color facsimile of the First Kennicott Bible (MS. Kennicott 1) is available. The Kennicott Bible (London: Facsimile Editions, 1985).