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The Bodleian Bowl

I. Abrahams

<plain_text><page sequence="1">if?lt0cellante0. i. The Bodleian Bowl. In a paper on the "Bodleian Bowl" {Transactions, vol. v. pp. 184-192), I inferred from a letter of Isaac Abendana (dated Oxford, October 9, 1696)that the famous inscribed vessel, now at the Bodleian, was "found in an old mote in Norfolk," and not, as had been previously assumed, on Tovey's authority, "in a small brook in Suffolk." Tovey's error led to the supposition that the bowl had belonged to the Jews of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; this, again, induced the theory that the bowl w7as made in the twelfth century. The re-discovery of the true provenance of the bowl made it possible to revise this date and place the bowl in the thirteenth century, with further results explained in the paper cited above. Further confirmation of the inference that the bowl was found in Norfolk is furnished in a book published in Cambridge in 1911. Our President, Dr. Stokes, kindly drew my attention to the volume, which is ?entitled Cambridge under Queen Anne. Among other contents, the book includes the diary of a visit paid to Cambridge by Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach during the life-time of John Covel, Master of Christ's ?College, the first owner of the bowl. Uffenbach describes his visit to Covel on the afternoon of Saturday, August 2, 1710. Covel, he tells us, was over eighty, but still brisk. This, as the editor (Professor J. E. B. Mayor) remarks, is inaccurate, for*Covel was only seventy-two or seventy three at the time. Covel displayed several treasures, among them a view and ground-plan of Constantinople, " made by a Frenchman with the pen, with great labour, and Jnot without great risk." The French? man, indeed, was forced to seek asylum with Covel, who was then in a</page><page sequence="2">ii MISCELLANIES. Constantinople. Dr. Covel further introduced to Uffenbach " many very fine codices hebraicos, and among them in three voluminibus membr. in 4. biblia hebr. ante 300 annos scripta. It has indeed the vowel points but by a later hand. Such codices we find here and there.'' Dr. Covel exhibited several other curiosities, including some texts from India, and then showed the bowl to his interested guest. Afterwards Dr. Covel shewed us a fine vas aeneum with a hebrew inscrip? tion, found under ground in Norfolk. No one has yet been able to decypher the inscription owing to the numerous contractions. Mr. Dr. Covel believes that much money must have been found in it, as the man who dug it up, suddenly became rich. The vessel may contain two measures (p. 150). For various theories as to the meaning of the inscription, the reader may refer to the Transactions as above cited. It will be noted that Uffenbach adds a new point of some piquancy. The bowl, in Dr. Covel's opinion, contained treasure, which enriched its finder. Thus the story of the curious vessel grows in romance with every fresh mention of it. I. Abeahams. March 1915.</page></plain_text>