London Codex

Description

One of the oldest surviving Hebrew biblical codices.

Why is it important?

This manuscript is one of the oldest surviving Hebrew biblical codices. A codex is a manuscript written in book form. This is an early form of the Ben Asher masoretic text. Aaron Ben Asher, a 10th-century scholar from Tiberias, in the Holy Land, compiled the most authoritative version of the Hebrew Bible.

The manuscript

The codex is incomplete, lacking sections in Genesis and Deuteronomy. The extant original parts of the Five Books of Moses were copied on vellum in three columns, in a beautiful Hebrew oriental square script, with vowels and accents. The scribe Nissi ben Daniel, who was probably also the punctuator of the manuscript, signed his name on several folios within the masoretic notation. The 16th-century additions were written on paper in a Yemenite square style of Hebrew writing. The Masorah (a body of rules of pronunciation, spelling and intonation of the biblical text that ensured its correct transmission over the centuries) was added in the margins and between the text columns in smaller, unvocalised script. The handwriting and the ink in this volume seem to be identical with ‘Codex Babylonicus Petropolitanu’, which is dated 916 CE. It is also similar to the ‘Leningrad Codex’, dated 1008/1010 CE and the ‘Aleppo Codex’ (in Hebrew, Keter Aram Tsova), dated 930 CE.

View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.

Full title:
Pentateuch with vowel-points and accents, masorah magna and parva, aka London Codex.
Created:
920–950 CE, Palestine or Egypt
Format:
Codex / Manuscript
Language:
Hebrew
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Or 4445

Full catalogue details

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