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Spanish Bible with Masorah
Soria, Castile, Spain
13th century (before 1287)
Unidentified scribe
Handwritten on parchment; brown ink; square Sephardic script
H: 32.5; W: 27.5 cm
Permanent loan to The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, from the State of Israel, through the Foreign Ministry of Israel
Accession number: L-B02.009 ; 180/121

This early, complete copy of the Bible was produced in Soria, which, along with Burgos and Toledo, was the center of a distinctive school of Hebrew manuscript illumination in the 13th century. The biblical text is accompanied by a collection of comments – called the Masorah – relating to its correct reading, spelling, vocalization, and accentuation, along with textual variants. Using tiny script, the Masorator (the scribe who added the Masorah) shaped the text into different micrographic patterns – a form of manuscript decoration that is unique to Jewish art.

From the Israel Museum publications:
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir

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