Known also as the Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch, the Torah is one of the three main divisions of the Hebrew Bible. It is also the most sacred; according to tradition it was written down by Moses at divine dictation.
The five books making up the Torah are: Be-reshit, Shemot, Va-yikra, Be-midbar and Devarim, which in the English Bible correspond to Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Hebrew titles derive from the first characteristic word appearing in each book, while the name used in the English Bible (usually of Greek origin) describe the central theme dealt with in each book.
Created in Ashkenaz (France or Germany) around the 14th century CE, this codex (handwritten book) comprises the Torah, prophetical readings and the Five Scrolls. It is an excellent example of micrography, a unique Jewish scribal art in which minute script is fashioned into abstract or figurative designs. The practice which has survived to this day, began around the 9th century CE in Egypt and the Holy Land, and then spread to Europe and Yemen, its heyday being between the 13th and 15th centuries CE. Micrography appeared initially in medieval Biblical codices accompanied by Masorah, a body of grammatical rules on the pronunciation, spelling and cantillation of the scriptural text that ensured the correct transmission of the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Proverbs and Psalms were also used as basic text for micrographic creativity.
Browse through the entire manuscript on the Digitised Manuscripts website.