The King's Bible


A 14th-century Hebrew Bible.

The manuscript

Known as Mikdashyah (Lord’s Sanctuary), the Hebrew Bible was regarded by Spanish Jews as a substitute for the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. Depictions of its utensils, such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Tablets of the Law, Aron’s flowering rod, the showbread, the vessel of manna, altar of burnt offering, trumpets, shofar (ram’s horn) and the Mount of Olives, conveyed the traditional Jewish yearning to rebuild the Temple in Messianic times. In this manuscript the Temple implements are individually labelled and painted in pastel colours and gold on two facing folios, 3v-4r. The scriptural text, which contains all twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible (in Hebrew Tanakh), was copied on parchment in two columns, in a neat Sephardic square script, with vowel points and accents. The masoretic notations (corpus of textual criticism aimed at preserving the Hebrew biblical text intact and safeguarding its correct transmission) in the King’s Bible are inconsistent.

Why is it important?

Penned by Jacob, son of Joseph Ripoll for Isaac, son of Judah of Tulusa (Toulouse?), this significant Hebrew Bible was completed in 1384 in Solsona, Catalonia, northeast Spain. After the persecution, and eventual expulsion, of Jews from Spain it was taken to Jerusalem, where it belonged to a synagogue. From there it travelled to Aleppo, Syria, where Laurentius d’Avrieux, Consul for France and Holland, acquired it in 1683. Known as the King’s Bible, it was the only Hebrew manuscript in the collection donated to the British Museum by King George IV in 1823.

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Full title:
Bible (the 'King's Bible'), with vowel-points and accents.
1384–1385, Spain
Ya῾aḳov ben Yosef of Ripoll [scribe]
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Kings MS 1

Full catalogue details

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