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Hebrew language collections

The Hebrew collections comprise holdings of material written and printed in Hebrew characters, ranging from manuscripts copied over 1,000 years ago to the most recent monographs and serials. 

The collections include around 3,000 manuscript volumes and about 73,000 printed book titles - mostly in Hebrew and in related languages that use the Hebrew script, e.g. Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish and Yiddish. 

In addition, there are around 10,000 fragments mainly from the Cairo Genizah, nearly 1,000 Hebrew and Yiddish periodical and newspaper titles, and considerable numbers of manuscripts, printed books and periodicals in microform.

Please note that there are delivery issues affecting some books published between 1900 and 1985 with shelfmarks in the range 14002 to 19968 following their move to a new storage facility. Please see further information on moves of Asian language materials

Maimonides' Mishneh Thorah

Maimonides' Mishneh Thorah [Repetition of the Law] Lisbon, 1472. Harley MS 5698, f.12r. Copyright © The British Library Board


The British Library's collection of Hebrew manuscripts is one of the most important in the world. Its volumes embrace many areas of Hebrew literature, with Bible, Talmud, kabbalah, philosophy and poetry particularly well represented.

Printed books

Please note that most Hebrew books and journals published before 1985 are unavailable from 30 August 2011 for several months. Please see further information on moves of Asian language materials

In its nearly 250 years of existence, the collection of Hebrew printed books has evolved from a modest reserve into a wide-ranging scholarly resource. Its holdings number some 73,000 titles encompassing all facets of Hebrew literature, and are representative of five centuries of printing in Hebrew characters around the globe.


The collections include over 650 Hebrew and some 250 Yiddish periodical titles, with an impressive geographical spread.

Further information

The British Library has strong holdings in the field of Jewish Studies. For eastern Europe see this page. For published works in English, and Judaica in other western languages, see Explore the British Library.

We also hold oral history recordings of Holocaust survivors, and of the Jewish community in Britain.

Images of Hebrew manuscripts are available in the Sacred section of our Online Gallery.  See also the Golden Haggadah. More images of Hebrew items are available in Images Online.

We also offer a list of useful websites for Hebrew, Hebraica and Jewish studies.


Ilana Tahan, M.Phil., Lead Curator, Hebrew and Christian Orient Studies
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7646
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7641