A 14th-century codex of the Pentateuch, complete with Rashi’s commentary.
Why is Rashi’s commentary important?
Rashi, an acronym of Rabbi Solomon ben Itshak of Troyes in France (1040–1105 CE), is considered to be the greatest medieval commentator on the Hebrew Bible. His unique commentary is still an essential companion to the study of the biblical text. His commentary also had a significant influence on Christian scholars from the 12th-century onwards, such as the Franciscan scholar Nicholas of Lyra (1270–1349), who, in turn, was a major source for Martin Luther.
This parchment codex consists of 636 folios, totalling 1272 pages. The scriptural text was copied in a single column in vocalised Ashkenazic square script – a Hebrew style of writing characteristic of Franco-German lands. Close to the sacred text are the masoretic notes, whereas Rashi’s commentary added in columns of minute semi-cursive script is found in the outer margins. The scribe’s name, Mordekhai Emendante, appears on folios 104v and 344v; it is probable that he also added the punctuation and masoretic notes. The manuscript contains numerous illuminated initial word panels that reveal Germanic influences.
View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.
- Article by:
- Barry Dov Walfish
Barry Dov Walfish explains the development of biblical interpretation in Judaism, looking at key corpuses such as the Masorah, Targum and Midrash.