Five Scrolls - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Five Scrolls

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The scrolls consist of the five shortest books of the Hagiographa: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. 

These books have been the inspiration for many artists and composers. The library has many examples of illustrated and illuminated texts.

The HUC-JIR library system follows the Library of Congress practice of assigning uniform titles to all Biblical texts. This means that no matter what title appears on the book itself, all versions of the same Biblical book will be called the same name and shelved in the same place. This can make finding a text easier - you don’t have to know if the book is called Shir ha-shirim or Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, all the books will be assigned the name “Bible. O.T. Song of Solomon” and shelved together.

Book of Ruth

Book of RuthRuth is read on Shavuot, in most rites, at the Shaharit service prior to the reading of the Torah. In the Diaspora, it is read on the second day of Shavuot. In the Sephardi and Italian rituals, it is divided into two parts and recited on both mornings (or afternoons).[Moshe Weinfeld] 

Illustration from: The Book of Ruth / Woodcuts by Jacob Steinhardt. Calligraphy by Franzisca Baruch.
Philladelphia, JPS, 1957



Scroll of Esther

Scroll of Esther

The festal scroll of Purim, the only one of the Five Scrolls to bear the title megillah as part of its traditional name, The Scroll of Esther tells the story of the salvation of the Jews of the Persian Empire.

Illustration from: Book of Esther / Illustrated by Arthur Szyk. 
Tel Aviv : America-Israel Publishing Co, 1974

Song of Songs

Song of Songs

Song of Solomon:In coloured plates by Zeev Raban.Bezalel, Jerusalem, 1930 

The Bible, because of its primary concern with religious themes, contains poetry which deals principally with sacred topics in hymns, laments, songs of praise and thanksgiving, etc. There are also a number of songs with a secular flavor and dealing with the more mundane affairs of life scattered through its pages, but the Song of Songs is unique in the Bible, for nowhere else within it can be found such a sustained paean to the warmth of love between man and woman. 

Illustration from: The Song of songs : the honeybee in the garden / Debra Band.
Philadelphia : Jewish Publication Society, 2005.


Book(s) Hebrew Translations Commentaries,
Criticism, etc.
(to 1950)
Criticism, etc.
Commentaries, Criticism, etc. (2001- ) Special topics etc.
5 Scrolls 1309A2 1309 A3-A4 1309 A5-Z7
Song of Solomon 1482 1483-1484 1485 1485.2-1485.5 1485.52 - 1485.6
Ruth 1312 1313-1314 1315 1315.2-1315.5 1315.52 - 1315.6
Lamentations 1532 1533-1534 1535 1535.2-1535.5 1535.52 - 1535.6
Ecclesiastes 1472 1473-1474 1475 1475.2-1475.5 1475.52 - 1475.6
Esther 1372 1373-1374 1375 1375.2-1375.5 1375.52 - 1375.6

Also search the catalog under the person's name:

Esther (Queen of Persia) BS 580 E8
Ruth (Biblical figure) ~ BS 580 R8

If you have any further questions about finding information on this, or any other topic, ask your local HUC-JIR librarian or email us using the form on the homepage.