Friday, September 16, 2011

Three Spanish Pentateuchs (Full Digitized Manuscripts)

National Library of Israel also has three digitized Pentateuchs from Spain:
  1. Pentateuch with Vocalization, Accents, Masorah Magna and Masorah Parva. Manuscript. Eretz Israel, 10th century. Parchment. 270 folios. 432x385 mm. Three columns. Written in a fine, large bold, Oriental square script, fully vocalized and with accents. A very exact, beautiful manuscript, almost complete. One of a very small group of early manuscripts of the Pentateuch of very great importance for the research of the Masorah. Purchased in 1914 by David S. Sassoon from the notables of the Jewish community in Damascus and hence nicknamed as "the Damascus Keter" (the "crown" of Damascus). D.S. Sassoon, in his Ohel David catalogue, describes the manuscript as being written in a 9th century "Babylonian [i.e. Iraqi] hand"; scholars of the Hebrew University disagree with this assumption and consider it to be of Palestinian origin and written in the 10th century. The manuscript was purchased from the Sassoon collection in 1975.
  2. "Damascus Keter". Bible with Vocalization, Accents, Masorah Magna and Masorah Parva. Manuscript. Burgos, Spain, 1260. Parchment. 428 folios. 305x270 mm. Sefardi square script. Three columns per page (Proverbs, Job and Psalms in two columns) Colophon (426v): "I, Menahem, son of Abraham ibn Malek ... wrote these twenty four [books] for ... Isaac, son of ... Abraham ... Haddad, and completed them on Monday, the 17th day of the month of Adar in the year 5020 in Burgos ... . The Masorah Magna is written on each page in delicate micrographic ornamentations. The text of the Masorah at the opening and closing sections of the volume, as well as at the pages between the three divisions of the Bible (Pentateuch, Prophets and Hagiographa) are also written in micrography in the form of colored "carpet" pages, the contours of which for a combination of floral motifs and geometric forms. The books of the Pentateuch and the Prophets are arranged in the conventional order which was adopted by later printed editions. The Hagiographa deviates from the conventional order, and from that given in the Tractate Bava Bathra (14b), and its arrangement is: Chronicles, Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, The Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah.
    The beginnings of sedaqrim [portions] and parashiyyot are ornamented in gold and other colors, some of them serving as illustrations of the text.
    At an unknown date the manuscript reached Damascus, which explains its appellations "The Damascus Keter" (it was customary in the East to call an ornate codex of the Bible a "Keter" [Crown]". There it was kept in the synagogue of Hushbasha Al'anabi, where it was viewed by Alexander E. Harkavy in 1886 and by Avinoam Yellin in 1919. According to Yellin's report, the manuscript contained 429 leaves. And indeed, one 'carpet' leaf originally from the end of the manuscript was auctioned in 198t at Sotheby's in London, and is now in the Museo Sefaradi of Toledo.
    The manuscript, without that single leaf, was auctioned at Sotheby's in 1962 and in that year was acquired for the Library through the generosity of the America-Israel Cultural Fund and Mr. N.Z. Williams of Jerusalem.
  3. Bible with Vocalization and Accents, Spain, 1341 Manuscript on parchment. Saragossa, Spain, 1341. 3 volumes. 204, 206, 53 fols. 215x155 mm. Sefardi square script. 2 columns per page. In the margins, the place usually assigned to the Masorah, the scribe copied David Kimchi's Sefer ha-shorashim ('The Book of Roots') letters alef to mem, in micrography which forms the contours for ornamental geometric motifs. The continuation of this work was written on full pages at the end of the Bible, now bound as a separate third volume. (In the past, all three present volumes formed one volume).  Colophon (vol. 2, 206v): "Completed ... in the month of Shevat, in the year 5101 ... in the city of Saragossa; I copied it for myself, Ezra ben Moses ... ben Eleazar... The manuscript is richly ornamented. Most of the initial words of the books are in gold and other colors on a background of ornamental filigree outlines in purple and red. There is an ornamental red frame at the end of each book, including the number of its verses. The colophon is written in red, blue and silver within a double arched gothic frame surmounted by rosettes. Order of the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Minor Prophets. Order of the Hagiographa: Rith, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles (as set down in Tracta Bava Bathra 14b). From the Estate of the late Dr. Yeshua Shami, donated by his daughters Miriam Kotev, Jerusalem and Susan Rosil, San Francisco, 1946.

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