The Art of the Ketubbah: Marriage Contracts from the Library of The JTS

Shalom Sabar


The Art of the Ketubbah:

Marriage Contracts from the Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary

by Shalom Sabar

Two-Volume Set

 Vol. 1: 432 pp. Vol. 2: 464 pp.

Hardcover: 450 NIS  

The Library of JTS has published The Art of the Ketubbah, a catalogue showcasing its world-class collection of more than 600 ketubbot, or Jewish marriage contracts, accompanied by detailed commentary. The catalogue was written by Shalom Sabar, professor emeritus of Jewish Art and Folklore at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Art of the Ketubbah includes high-quality color photographs that document the rich variety of decorating and calligraphic styles used by Jewish communities to enhance the ancient text formulas they shared. These contracts reveal social customs, family relationships, economic situations, and a community’s interactions with the world around it, spanning thirty-seven countries on four continents from the 10th through the 21st centuries.

The catalogue includes 472 full entries, plus two addenda—one of 50 more recently acquired ketubbot and the other of 45 ketubbot from the Cairo Genizah. About one-third of the ketubbot in the collection originate from Italy. The remaining two-thirds include those from elsewhere in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. The earliest ketubbah in the catalogue is from Fustat, Egypt, dated 1023, while the latest is from New York, 2012. The high-quality color photographs, comprehensive indexes, and detailed scholarly commentary on each ketubbah in the collection make this catalog valuable to scholars and the general public alike.


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