Besides the Five Books of Moses, this 14th-century CE manuscript includes the standard Aramaic translation – Targum Onkelos attributed to Onkelos, c. 35-120 CE, and the commentary of Solomon ben Isaac of Troyes, known as Rashi (1040-1105 CE). Also in the manuscript are: the Five Scrolls (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther), the haftarot (weekly readings from the Prophets), and the Book of Job and Megilat Antiokhus (Scroll of Antiochus originally composed c. 2nd century CE). Handwritten on parchment by Abraham ben Isaac, the manuscript has decorated initial word panels and ornate carmina figurata (text written within figural and geometrical designs).
This is a good example of an Ashkenazi glossed Bible (a Bible with the Aramaic translation/paraphrase and Rashi’s interpretations) with text penned in three separate spaces on the page. The centrally positioned biblical text in large square calligraphic script is bordered by the Targum copied in smaller square letters in the inner column, and by Rashi’s explanations in semi-cursive handwriting in the outer margin. Another example of a glossed Bible described in this resource is Add MS 26879.
During the 15th century CE the manuscript changed ownership at least four times. Its last owners, prior to its acquisition in the 18th century CE by the British Museum, were Robert and Edward Harley, Earls of Oxford and Mortimer.
Browse through the entire manuscript on the Digitised Manuscripts website.
- Article by:
- Javier del Barco
- The Hebrew Bible
Most readers of the Bible feel that they sometimes need an explanation – a gloss – to understand a text written and edited many centuries before it reached their hands. Dr Javier del Barco looks particularly into the practice of producing glossed Hebrew Bibles in medieval Ashkenaz.