Crossing Borders tells the intriguing but largely unfamiliar story of the exchange of culture and knowledge between Jews and non-Jews in the Muslim and Christian worlds during the late Middle Ages as part of the preparation of Hebrew manuscripts. The book is composed of ten narratives, each of which brings to light a different aspect of Jewish life in a non-Jewish medieval society—highlighting the practical cooperation, social interaction, and religious toleration that was surprisingly common between the groups involved in the early enterprise of book production.
Alongside the narratives, Crossing Borders is beautifully illustrated with images from the Hebrew holdings at the Bodleian Library—one of the largest and most important collections of Hebrew manuscripts worldwide. The art includes Christian codex fragments from the third century, a copy of Moses Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah signed by Maimonides himself, a thirteenth century German Jewish prayer book, and lavishly illuminated Spanish Bible manuscripts from the fifteenth century. This exquisitely illustrated book takes a fascinating look at the often-ignored role of Jews in the written transmission of culture and science throughout medieval Europe.