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Object Alone

Obj. ID: 1122
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Aberzush Bible, Southern Germany, 1298-99

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Unknown,
Summary and Remarks


The manuscript is written by three scribes. Scribes A and B wrote the Prophets and the main part of the Hagiographa, except for Psalms, Proverbs and Job (EMeT Books). Scribe C carried out these three books, which share the same accentuation system, different from the rest of the Bible. 

The letters forms of the scribes are particularly identical, as well as most of the line fillers used by them to keep a straight left margin. Moreover, they all use slightly varying forms of hei, alef, lamed, shin, zadei, and some fine changes in mem, tav, alef, kof, so that distinguishing between them is no easy task.

 However, they can be distinguished by their style of script and the way they use the line fillers. Scribe A has a rounded, compact script with much ink, ending lines with letters or parts of following letters, at time adding the graphic sign in form of the letter zayin, or using it alone. At time trying to complete the word, squeezing the letters together or stretching the last letter in the line. (see mainly fols. 1v-110v). He is also using dilation of last letter of the line (יהוד'(ה), fol. 17 - column 2, line 3). Scribe B has an angular script, using the quill in a flexible manner, especially minims of serifs. The graphic line fillers are mostly the zayin sign, different forms of inverted yod, or broken letters. (see mainly fols. 111-146v). Scribe C has a smooth square script, layer than the rounded and angular hands. His line fillers are the zayin sign (with a squarish foot of an undulating stems done in two strokes). He often uses two or three letters of the word opening the next line or parts of letters, but rarely in combination with the graphic signs, as scribe A does (see fols. 245v-298v). 

The vocalizer-massorator, Aberzush, wrote the colophon of the Bible located on the lower margins of the Psalter along forty one pages. The origin and date of the manuscript established according to the chronicle referred to in this colophon, regarding the "Rindfleisch Massacres" in south-western and central Germany in 1298, when thousands of Jews were killed, among them his wife, two children (son and daughter), brother and sister. In fact, Aberzush's colophon was a well-known source for historians, like Zunz (Synagogale Poesie, pp. 34-5), Graetz (Geschichte,  p. 232, n. 4) and others (see Bibliography), who depend on his statement when recording the number of 146 Jewish communities destroyed in the Rindfleisch Massacres.

Another colophon is of the vocalizer-massorator, Abraham, who signed his name at the end of the Prophets. Schwartz (hebräischen Hss, 1925, No. 5) and Ginsburg (Introduction, pp. 776-778), believed that both names, Aberzush and Abraham, refer to one and the same massorator. Further examination showed, however, that Abraham is a different massorator, who was responsible for the vocalization and the massoretic text in the Prophets, while Aberzush is responsible for the Hagiographa. 

It is also clear that Abraham is scribe B, since the style of the massorah square script in the frame of the carpet page on fol. 226 is similar to the angular hand of scribe B. It seems that Abraham is also the corrector in his part (e.g. fols. 1v, 71, 111). 

Both massorators were responsible for the decoration of the manuscript in massoretic micrography on their parts (see: Decoration Program). We can note the difference in the system of the decoration between them. When we examine, for instance, the decorated initial word panels it seems that in the Prophets the decoration of Abraham is limited mainly to geometric forms, while in the Hagiographa Aberzush uses illustrative designs. In addition, there are differences in the composition of the illuminated titles in the lower margins. While the title of each of the Books of the Prophets which include a one-word name is placed on the right-hand side and decorated by a figure (human, animal or hybrid) on the left, the one-word title of the books of Hagiographa are placed at the centre of the lower margin and mostly flanked by illustrations. In addition, the decoration at the end of the quires are limited to the Prophets. 

The massoratic micrography written in a decorative manner continued a long tradition in the art of the medieval Hebrew Bible. Originating in the Isamic East in the 9th-10th centuries the micrography spread over Sepharad and Ashkenaz in the following centuries. In Ashkenaz it was mentioned in the rabbinical literature (see: Sefer Hasidim by R. Judah ha-Ḥasid  (d. 1217), #282).

One of the earliest extant Ashkenazi manuscripts decorated in micrography is Mahzor Vitry, written in Germany in 1204 (JTS, ms. 8092). In the layout of the page and in decoration program and style our Bible is close to the German school of the Hebrew Bibles written in south-western and central Germany around the year 1300 (see Narkiss, HIM, esp. p. 45 and figs. 41-44). The text of these Bibles is arranged in three columns (except for the books of EMeT in two columns). The text of the massorah magna is written in lines in the upper and lower margins of the pages. They are also decorated by elaborate ornamental patterns or illustrations in micrography around the initial words, which may extend into a full-page illustration as is in our Bible. 

The Bibles of this School, are richly decorated with interlace designs of geometric, vegetable, animal and human motifs combined with zoomorphic and anthropomorphic elements. Although generally smaller in scale, our manuscript contains stylistic parallels to some of these motifs, especially in the depictions of the lion, which is, whether with Jewish connotations (Mellinkoff, Antisemitic, p. 41, the "cubic head" lion) or not, the most repeated animal portrayed in the manuscript. The comparison should be made, for example, between the two rampant lions within small arches displayed at the bottom of the initial word panel on fol. 119 of Solomon ha-Cohen's Pentateuch (BN, Hébreu. 5; Sed-Rajna, Les Manuscrits Hébreux, figure on page 186) and some lions in our Bible: The rampant lion on the right resembles our full-page lion by its position and leafy tail (fol. 226), while the facial features of the lion on the left are similar to our facing cub-head lions supporting an arch (fol. 227v; see also the cub-head lion on our fol. 276). The forming of the hoods are also similar in both manuscripts. The hoods on the heads of the grotesques in our Bible are decorated with rows of short lines and topped by bird's head (fol. 232) similar to the hoods of the rampant hybrids flanking the Menorah in the Pentateuch on fol. 118 (Sed-Rajna, ibid, page 185). Similarities in stylistic motifs are found in other Bibles of this School. For example, the micrographic deer decorating the title of the book of Jeremiah (fol. 111) resembles the deer-drawn in ink in the hunting scene decorating the colophon of Gershom bar Eli'ezer Pentateuch of 1304  (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Can. Or. 91, fol. 307, see Narkiss, HIM, fig. 41). Both deer are in a chased pose leaving a tree behind them, their horns executed in the same horizontal manner behind their heads. On the same page of the Pentateuch, the unicorn whose horn is bent forward should be compared with our unicorn in the initial word panel of Daniel (fol. 299). A comparison to our interlaced winged dragons (fols. 244, 247) is found on fol. 246v of the 13th century Reuchlin Bible (Karlsruhe, Baden, State Library, Cod. Reuchlin 1, see: Narkiss, HIM, fig. 4). 

Micrographic massorah in forming letters for rendering the colophon along the lower margins of the manuscript is known in earlier Ashkenazi Bibles. For example, in the Bible from Western France,La Rochelle, from 1216 (Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica ebr. 482, fols. 551v-555), where the scribe (who was also the massorator) wrote a full colophon in the same hallowed letters outlined in micrography as is the case in our manuscript. Another Ashkenazi biblical manuscript from 1264 (now in London, David Sofer's collection, ms. 1, fols. 17v-18 ) includes the name of the scribe, Yehudah beRabbi Yehudah, written in the margins in the same way. 

In addition to the micrographic decorations and inscriptions, our Bible contains two marginal text illustrations with human figures portrayed in ink: A standing figure at the beginning of Joshua (fol. 1v) and two figures at the beginning of Job (fol. 286) -.both showing Job. On the right he is enthroned, and on the left he is in his suffering. These figures bear another typical element of the Ashkenazi manuscripts of the 13th and 14th centuries, that is, the distortion of the human body and in particular the human face (see Narkiss, HIM, pp. 42-43). Outstanding is the grotesque profile, with the protruding wolf's nose, of the naked Job. The exaggerated features of the face, as well as the body of Job, probably intended to express his suffering, but he pointed out the profile of the enthroned Job, although much more human, and the featureless Joshua, show that it was a stylistic motif. On the other hand, this motif is not repeated in the micrographic hunting scene at the opening of the book of Proverbs (fol. 276), where the figure of the hunter is depicted in a different style. It seems that the artists used more than one model to copy his illustrations. 

In the 14th-15th  century the manuscript belonged to a gentile but by the year 1407 (קסז) the manuscript was again by the hands of a Jew (see: History), when it was purchased together with a Torah Scroll. This Torah Scroll (חומש) may be the lost first volume of our Bible, that is the Five Books of the Torah, unless it was a Scroll of the Law, as Ginsburg (Introduction, p. 778) understood it. The gentile owner was responsible for the Latin additions: the Latin names of the Hebrew books, the foliation, the numeration of chapters and Psalms and the table of contents at the end of the book. He was also responsible for the black ink additions in the original decorations. Schwartz (hebräischen Hss, 1925, No. 5) recognized this gentle hand in another manuscript of the Vienna Library: Cod. Hebr. 4 (see: ibid. No. 2 and Cat. No.##).


13 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Aberzush Bible | Unknown
Object Detail
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Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
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Period Detail
Austria | Vienna | Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (ÖNB)
| Cod. Hebr. 16 (Schwartz No. 5)
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Panel Measurements
Holes (e.g. fols. 32, 110v) and stitches (e.g. fols. 64, 134) in the parchment.
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Prophets and Hagiographa, punctuated and vocalized, with Massorah magna and parva. Prophets (fols. 1v-225): Joshua (fols. 1v-17), Judges (fols. 17-32), Samuel (fols. 32-69v), Kings (fols. 69v-110v), Jeremiah (fols. 111-144v), Isaiah (fols. 144v-172v), Ezekiel (fols.172v-202), and Twelve Minor Prophets (fols. 202-225): Hosea (fols. 202-206), Joel (Fols. 206-207v), Amos (fols. 207v-211), Obadiah (fols. Fol. 211), Jonah (fols. 211v-212v), Micah (fols. 212v-214v), Nahum (fols. 214v-215v), Habakkuk (fols. 215v-216v), Zephaniah (fols. 216v-218), Haggai (fols. 218-219), Zechariah (fols. 219-224), Malachi (fols. 224-225). Two full page decorations (fols. 225v-226). Hagiographa (fols. 227v-368): Song of Songs (fols. 227v-229v), Ruth (fols. 229v-232), Lamentations (fols. 232-234v), Ecclesiastes (fols. 234v-239) Esther (fols. 239-244), Psalms (fols. 245v-276), Proverbs (fols. 276-286), Job (fols. 286-299), Daniel (fols. 299-309v), Ezra-Nehemiah (fols. 309v-326) and Chronicles (fols. 326v-368). Fol. 368v is blank. Fol. 369 is a later addition of the 15th century: A fragment of Shmuel ben Meir's commentary on the Talmudic Tractate Bava Batra (see Codicology & History below). The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are not divided in two. The books of Twelve Minor Prophets are regarded as one book. The books of Ezra-Nehemiah are regarded as one book. Psalter is divided into 147 Psalms: Ps. IX and X are one, LXX and LXXI are one, CXIV and CXV are one, and CXVII and CXVIII 4 are one, while Ps. CXVIII 5 begins a separate Psalm (see Ginsburg, Introduction, p. 777 and n. 1). In the later Prophets, Jeremiah comes before Isaiah. The books of the Hagiographa opens with Five Scrolls. The order of the other books of Hagiographa is as in the printed versions, and not as prescribed in the Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 14b.


Parchment, II + 368 +1 (foliated 1-369, fol. 369 is a later addition) leaves.


Full page: (328-334) X (236-250) mm.

Text space with Massorah: Scribe A (fols. 1v-244; 299-368): (210-215) X (162-170) mm.

                                         Scribe B (fols. 245v-299): (232-236) X ca.180 mm.



The text was written apparently by three scribes and two massorators-vocelizers.

Scribe B is identified with the first massorator..The second massorator certainly was not one of the scribes since he testified that he furnished the Massorah and the vowel points to the text (see Remarks).

Scribe A: Abraham

Main text

fols. 1v-110v; 147-170v*, 227v-244, 311v-368

Scribe B

Main text

fols. 111-146v ,171-225, 299-311**

Scribe C

Main text

Fols. 245v-299

Massorator A: Abraham


Fols. 1v-226

Massorator B: Aberzush


Fols. 227v-368


Notes: *The script on fols. 147-170v is similar and not identical to scribe A.

        **The script on fols. 299 - 311 is similar and not identical  to scribe B.


The main text is written in square Ashkenazi script in brwon and dark brown ink.

The Massorah is written in small square Ashkenazi script in light brown ink.

Initial words and letters in the Psalms and initials to chapters in Job are in larger square script.

Number of columns

Main text:

Prophets: in 2 columns of75 mm. each.

 Hagiographa: in 3 columns of52 mm. each.   


  Fols. 32v and 134v (end of quires), 143-144v (end of Jeremiah) and 365v-368 (end of MS)

  in 1 column.

Number of lines

Main text:


30 lines per column.


29 lines per column (fols. 227v-244 and 299-365). Psalms, Proverbs and Job in

30 lines per column (fols. 245v-299).

Massorah magna

2 lines on top and 3 lines at the bottom.


Ruling by plummet in brown and gray shades

Main text:

Scribe A            Prophets: (fols. 1v-110v, 147-170v): 31 horizontal and 1+2+1 vertical lines

(in brown).

Hagiographa: (fols. 227v-244, 311v-368): 30 horizontal and 1+2+2+1

vertical lines (in brown).

Scribe B            Prophets: (fols. 111-146v): 30 horizontal and 1+2+2+1 vertical lines

                        (in brown); (fols. 171-225): 30 horizontal and 1+2+2+1 vertical lines

                        (in gray)

                        Hagiographa: (fols. 299-311): 30 horizontal and 1+2+2+1 vertical lines

(in brown).

Scribe C            Hagiographa: (fols. 245v-298v = EMeT books + beginning of Daniel):  31 horizontal and 2+2+2+2 vertical lines (in gray).


Massorah magna: 3+4 horizontal lines.



Pricking is discernible in all margins. Quire XXII (fols. 163-170): exceptional double pricking in the exterior margins, probably by mistake.


47 quires of 8 leaves each, except for XIV6 (end of Kings), XVIII4, XXIII10, XXIX8-2 (end of Prophets. Fols. 221 and 222 are widows), XXXI8+2 (end of the Five Scrolls), XLVII4 (end of the manuscript) and additional single leaf.

Flash-sides facing flash-sides and hair-sides facing hair-sides (FHFH), except for quire I (HHHF) and XIV (HFH).


Horizontal catchwords to the quires are written in square script in the lower left-hand corner of the final verso of almost each quire. Some are decorated (fols. 40v, 64v, 180v, 188v, 196v, 204v, 212v, 252v, 260v, 268v, 276v, 284v, 292v). One horizontal catchword to a page in rabbinical small script is added in the lower left-hand corner of fol. 285v.

 Hebrew numeration

Hebrew alphabet numeration in square script to the psalms in the Psalter.

Blank leaves

Fols. 1, 226v-227 (after the Twelve Minor Prophets), 244v-245 (after the Book of Esther) and 368v.


Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Fols. 248v-268: The colophon of the vocalizer-massorator B is written in the lower margins in 41 successive versos and rectos of the Psalter, in large letters outlined in massoretic micrography, reads: תהילים/ התחלתי/ למסור/ ולנקד/ בשנת מטה/ ידינו/ ותש כוחינו/ ב'י'ו'ם' [=שנת נ"ח] אף ה'/ ונהרסו קהילות/ הקודש ונהרגו/ ידידי עם/ קודש וגם/ בערי הפרזי הרבה/ מאד מאה/ וארבעים וששה/ יישובים ובבזה/ שלחו את ידם/ ולא השאירו/ עוללות ולי אני/ העלוב אברזוש/ נהרגה אשתי/ ושני בניי בת ו'ב'ן' [= שנת נ"ח]/ חזקיה בני ילד/ שעשועי על כן המו/ מעי לו וגם אחי/ בחור נעים ונחמד/ ואחותי בחורה נאה/ וחמודה יזכרם/ אלה'ינו לטובה עם/ שאר צדיקי עולם/ וכתבתי לזכרון לפני/ ה' תמיד ולנקום/ נקמת בני ישראל/ מ'את א'ומה ז'ו' ה'רשעה [= שנת נ"ח]/ אשר שפכו דם כמים/ ואין קובר תרעם/ בשבט ברזל ככלי/ יוצר תנפצם (תהלים, ב:9)/ בשנת ט'ן' [= שנת נ"ט] לפרט [קטן]/ דבר זה נחרט. "I began to furnish the Massorah and the vowel-points to the text in the year when our hands were weakened and our strength enfeebled, in the day (5059 [=1298]) of the anger of the Lord when the sacred synagogues were destroyed and my beloved ones slaughtered within the Sanctuary, and when in the villages too the Jewish communities to the number of one hundred-and-forty-six were pillaged and nothing remained. And as for miserable me, Aberzush! my wife, my two children a daughter and a son (5059 [=1298]) Ezekiel the child of my delight for whom I deeply mourn, also my bachelor-brother an amiable young man, and my maiden sister a beautiful girl were massacred, may our God remember them for good with the rest of the pious people. Now I have written this for a perpetual memorial before the Lord and to avenge the children of Israel of this wicked people who have poured out blood like water and there was none left to bury the dead. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel [Ps. 2:9]. In the year 5059 [=1299] this is inscribed as a memorial" (see Ginsburg, Introduction, p. 777-8). Fol. 225 (at the end of Prophets): The name of the vocalizer–massorator A" ,אברהם Abraham", is written in the lower margin, outlined in massoretic micrography.
Scribal Notes
Pious formulas in the lower margins, by the different scribes and vocalizers-massorators, in the Prophets: Fol. 101v: ה' ישמור צאתי ובואי, "The Lord shall preserve my going out and my coming in", next to II. Kings 16:35-38, possibly "the people sacrified and burned … ". Fol. 173v: לא אמות כי אחיה "I shall not die, but live", next to בחטאתו ימות, "he shall die by his sin" (Ez. 3:20). Fol. 182v: ה'י'מ'ר'" (=השם ישמרך מכל רע), "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil", next to את שבתותי חללו "they polluted my sabbaths" (Ez. 20:21). Fol. 184v: הש' שומ' כל עמו יש' מנ' ומח 'ומפ' (=השם שומר כל עמו ישראל מנגע ומחלה ומפגע), "The Lord is the keeper of all Israel from sore, and sickness and evil", next toבאש עברתי , "I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath" (Ez. 22:31). Fol. 187v: ה' יצ' מכ' צ' וצ' (=ה' יצילני מכל צרה וצוקה), "The Lord shall deliver me from all trouble and distress", next to וקוננו עליך "and lament over thee" (Ez. 27:32). Fol. 190v: A trimmed note, next to ,חלליך לא חללי חרב ולא מתי מלחמה"thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle" (Isa. 22:2). Fol. 204: הש'[ם] ירפאני ויעזרני מכל חלאים רעים וישלח לי רפואה של'[מה], "the Lord shall heal me and shield me from all severe sickness and shall send me a full recovery", next to כרפאי לישראל,"When I would have healed Israel" (Hosea 7:1). Fol. 188: Two vocalized words הֶאָמוּר, מְחוֹללֶיךָ, (possibly by vocalizer-massorator A).
Trade Mark

18th century binding of brown leather on cardboard blind-tooled on front and back covers with schematic floral frame. The spine is divided into six sections, each is decorated by a gold-tooled geometrical pattern topped by a floral motif. (See similar binding on Cod. Hebr. 28).

Fol. 369: A leaf of Shmuel ben Meir's (הרשב"ם) commentary on the Talmudic Tractate Bava Batra, 119b-120b. The leaf is written in 15th century semi-cursive Italo- Ashkenazi script in 45 lines. The leaf, which is bound at the end of the Bible was found in its previous binding (see: Schwartz, hebräischen Hss, 1925, No. 5, p. 7).


Decoration Program


The decorated Massorah appears mainly at the beginning and end of the books. The first massorator decorated the Prophets (fols. 1-225), the second the Hagiographa (fols. 227v-368).

Both use massoretic micrography, except for two pen-drawn text illustrations in the lower margins of fol. 1v (Joshua) and fol. 286 (Job), which are depicted either by the second massorator or one of the scribes, who also wrote next to the enthroned Job: תחילתו בשלוה. The facial features of the figures are distorted.

The massorators also added the pen drawing faces and heads at the end of the micrography, such as: the human grotesque (e.g. fols. 232, 299), the bird heads (e.g. fols. 1, 51, 172v), the dragon head (e.g.fols. 299, 326v), and also the foliage (e.g. fol. 299) and the wriggely work surrounds the initial words on fols. 232 and 234v.

Apparently it was intended that the decoration will not be filled in with ink. However, a crude hand added dark ink to Joshua's figure (fol. 1v), to the first word panels (fols. 1v, 17, 111, 202, 309v) and to the dragons (fols. 32v, 202). He also added a six pointed stars (fols. 32v, 172v) and closed the moon crescent, which with the rossette-sun flanks the word Ecclesiastes (fol. 234v). It seems that he also decorated the mid and end book signs by frames infilled with ink (e.g. fols. 202, 368), offen adding birds (fols. 51, 172v, 233v, 237, 304v, 343v) or a dog (fols. 213). The ink covers at times the micrography (fols. 32v, 172v). This crude hand could be of the gentile, which wrote at the beginning of 15th century the Latin additions in the Bible pages (see: History).

 A. Massorator A: Books of Prophets:

    I. Two full page illustratioins in micrography between the two sections of the Bible: David Shield (fols. 225v) and rampant lion (fol. 226).

   II. Decorated opening of books:

             (a) 7 decorated initial word panels framed by micrography with added black ink, (fols. 1v=Joshua, 17=Judges, 32=Samuel, 69v=Kings, 111=Jeremiah, 202=Minor Prophets). The initial word for the book of Isaiah (fol. 144v) is not decorated.

            (b) 8 decorated micrography in the lower margins in form of display-hallowed-letter names of books, each accompanied by illustration or decoration of human, animal, dragon or hybrid (fols. 1v=Jushua (Jushua as a leader), 17=Judges (winged dragon), 32=Samuel (winged dragon), 69v=Kings (lion statant), 111=Jeremiah (deer), 144v=Isaiah (winged hybrid), 172v=Ezekiel (spread bird of prey), 202=Minor Prophets (fleur-de-lys)).

(c) 5 decorated micrography in the upper margins in forms of an elaborate interlace design (fols. 1v=Joshua (palmette scroll), fols. 69v=Kings and 144v=Isaiah (undulating band), 172v=Ezekiel (band of running lozenges) and 202=Minor Prophets (zigzag band).     

  III.         Decorated colophon of massorator A : in the lower margin in micrography in display-hallowed- letters at the end of the Prophets in the form of the name of אברהם "Abraham" (fol. 225).

  IV.        Four end-of-quires in micrography designs decorating the shaped text in forms of dragons (fol. 32v), triangles (fol. 110v), vertical andulating band and stylized vase (fol. 134v) and framed page and andulating band in the lower margin (fol. 146v).

  V.        Some simple geometric forms terminate the Massorah magna (e.g. fols.

           17, 110v).

B. Massorator B: Books of Hagiographa:

   I.          Decorated opening of books:  

(a) 8 illustrated initial words (fols. 227v=Song of Songs (Jerusalem) 229v=Ruth (rossettes), 232=Lamentations (inverted arch), 234v=Ecclesiastes (dragon), 239=Esther (scroll), 299=Daniel (Lions' Den), 309v=Ezra (double arche), 326v=Chronicles (intersecting beasts'-headed arches).

The initail words of Psalms (fol. 245v), Proverbs (fol. 276) and Job (fol. 286) are not decorated.

 (b) 11 decorated micrography in the lower margins of the page in form of

display-hallowed-letters for name of books, often flanked by a drawing or by illustrated micrography in form of human, Luminary Lights or geometric object (fols. 227v=Song of Songs (geometric object), 229v=Ruth (crown), 232=Lamentations (Jewish hat), 234v=Ecclesiastes (sun and moon), fol. 239=Esther (srolls), 248v=Psalms, fol. 276=Proverbs (hunting scene), 286= Job (geometric objects and two text illustrations), 299=Daniel, 309v=Ezra (Tablets of the Law), 326v=Chronicles (geometric object).

  II.          End of lines of Massorah magna in forms of simple geometric designs

            (e.g. fols. 229v, 232, 234v, 239, 245v, 286, 299, 309v, 326).

  III.      Decorated end of books in the text space of the important divisions of

           Hagiographa in micrography designs decorationg the shaped text of the

            scribe (fols. 244=end of Five Scrolls (interlaced dragon and lion), 299=end

           of Psalms, Proverbs and Job (EMeT Books=(ספרי אמת (flanked on by

           guiloshe motif and a dragon with foliate tail).

  IV.      Decorated Colophon of Massorator B: in micrography in the lower

          margin of the page, along 20 leaves of the Psalter in form of display-

         hallowed-letters (fols.248v-268).

  V.       Two elaborate micrographic decoration in the lower margins of the

           Psalters in forms of interlaced dragons (fol. 246v), and lions (fol. 247).                                

C. Crude hand: in the Prophets and Hagiographa:

    I.          Infilled with ink the initial word panels (fols. 1v, 17, 32, 69v, 111,

172v, 202, 309v), also the clothes of Jushua (fol. 1v), the dragon heads, legs and tails (fols. cf. 32v, 202) and within the Massorah magna (fol. 172v). He also closed the cresent moon flanking with a rossette-sun the word Ecclesiastes (fol. 234v).

   II.        Added decoration of six pointed stars and a crescent moon (e.g. fols. 32v, 172v).

   III.         End-of-book and half-book signs with frams infilled with ink (fols. 9v, 24v, 51, 69v,  186v, 202, 231, 253, 261, 292v, 304v, 368), often adding birds (e.g. fols. 1, 51, 89, 151v, 159 (two birds), 172v, 228v, 233v, 237, 318v, 343v), or dog (fols. 158v, 213 , 241v).

D. Occasional one-word catchwords by the scribes in smaller script, often toped by vertical or v-shaped strokes

arranged in triangels (fols. 40v, 64v, 180v, 188v, 196v, 204v, 212v, 252v), in schematic flowers (fol. 260v, trimmed).

 Others have vertical and horizontal strokes on top of each letter (fols. 268v, 276v, 284v, 292v).


Suggested Reconsdivuction
I. Fol. 1: Three owners' inscriptions (amongst few other inscription mostly unreadible): 1. A 15th century sale inscription: פדיתי ספר תורה/ וספר זה מן ערל // בעד ג' ליט[רה] פחו[ת] ע"ע (=70 עבים) באייר קסז ל[פרט קטן]. "I have redeemed from a gentile a Scroll of the Law (or a Pentateuch?) and this book for three pounds less seventy kreutzer in the month of Iyar in 5167 [=1407]" (see Ginsburg, Introduction, p. 778). The inscription is repeated on fol. 244v. 2. אני חיים, "I'm Hayyim". 3. אביגדור בן מהר"ה זצ"ל, "The late Avigdor ben Mahreh". II. Latin additions in the Bible pages, written by a 15th century hand: 1. Numeration in Arabic cyphers on all versos; 2. Running book titles in Latin cursive scipt on all rectos and sometimes on rectos and versos; Latin book haedings in the text (e.g. fols.229v, 232, 286) and a small leaf motif in dark brown ink (e.g. fols. 172v, 229v, 309v); Frontispieces and finispieces (e.g. fols. 32, 110v, 144v, 229v, 326). 3. Numeration to chapters in the margins (e.g. fols.17, 18, 19 (C2m, C3m, C4m) and Latin chapter headings up to Psalm 17 with Arabic cyphers next to the original Hebrew numeration of Psalm's chapters, which are not always parallel but follows the Christian devision of Psalms III. Latin table of contents on fol. 368v, with folio numbers referring to the books included in this Bible. IV. Fol. 368v: Next to the table of contents is an inscription by a later hand: "Iste liber spectat ad collegium ducale Vienne, No. 15." This page also contains some scribbling and pen-trials. V. Fol. 369: A leaf of Shmuel ben Meir's (הרשב"ם) commentary on the Talmudic Tractate Bava Batra, 119b- 120b. The leaf is written in 15th century semi-cursive Italo- Ashkenazi script, in 45 lines. The leaf, which is bound at the end of the Bible was found in its previous binding (see Schwartz, hebräischen Hss, 1925, No. 5, p. 7). VI. On front and back flyleaves and on fol. 369 is the stamp - "K. K. Hofbibliothek". The manuscript was removed from the old University Library to the Hofbibliothek The signature of the manuscript was Hebr. 4 and it was known by that signature in the formar literature (see, Zunz, Synagogale Poesie, 1855, p. 35, n. a; Ginsburg, ibid., p. 776). Later It was changed to the current signature: Hebr. 16.
Main Surveys & Excavations
Beit-Arié, Hebrew Codicology Beit-Arié, M., Hebrew Codicology, Jerusalem 1981 Bernfeld, Sefer ha-Dema`ot Bernfeld, S., Sefer ha-Dema`ot, 2, Berlin 1924, pp. 33-39 Dubnaow, S., Divrey yemey `am `olam Dubnaow, S., Divrey yemey `am `olam, 3, Tel Aviv 1955, pp. 1110-1111 Ginsburg, Introduction Ginsburg, C. D., Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, London 1966, pp. 776-778 (No. 60) Graetz, Geschichte Graetz, H.," Von Maimunis Tod (1205) bis zur Verbannung der Juden aus Spanien und Portugal I", in Geschichte der Juden 7, Leipzig 1984, p. 232 and note 4 Habermann, Sefer Gezerot Habermann, A. M., (ed.), Sefer Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Zarfat, Jerusalem 1946, p. 213 Jüdentum im Mittelalter Jüdentum im Mittelalter, Ausstellung in Schloss Halbturn, Eisenstadt 1978 , p. 212 (No. 12) Mellinkoff, Antisemitic Mellinkoff, R., Antisemitic Hate Signs in The Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts from Medieval Germany, Jerusalem 1999, p. 41, fig. 35 Metzger & Metzger, Jewish Life Metzger, T & Metzger, M, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, Fribourg 1982, p. 310 (No. 247) "Rindfleisch" Michael R. "Rindfleisch", EJ, Jerusalem 1972, 14, p. 188 Narkiss, HIM Narkiss, B., Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts , Jerusalem 1984, pp. 18-20, 45-51 Narkiss, B., Hebrew Bibles Narkiss, B., Illuminations from Hebrew Bibles of Leningrad, Introduction and New Description, Jerusalem 1990, (English) p. 41 and fig. 25 Saalfeld, Martyrologium Saalfeld, S., Das Martyrologium des Nürnberger Memorbuches, Berlin 1898 Schwartz, hebräischen Hss, 1925 Schwartz, A. Z., Die hebräischen Handschriften der Nationalbibliothek in Wien, Leipzig 1925, pp. 6-7 (No. 5), pl. V Sed-Rajna, Les Manuscrits Hébreux Sed-Rajna, G., Les Manuscrits Hébreux Enluminés des Bibliothèques de France, Leuven-Paris 1994 Sefer Hasidim Sefer Hasidim by R. Judah ha-Ḥasid, Jerusalem 1957 (in Hebrew) SfarData SfarData, The Codicological Database of the Hebrew Palaeography Project, Israel Academy of Sciences and Uumanities, Jerusalem – A Tool for Historical Typology, Dating and Localizing Medieval Manuscripts, No. J2 (Hebrew; Unpublished) Zunz, Synagogale Poesie Zunz ,L., Die Synagogale Poesie des Mittelalters, Berlin 1855, pp. 34-5 Yuval, Two Nations Yuval, I. J., "Two Nations in Your Womb", Perceptions of Jews and Christians, Tel Aviv 2000, pp. 152, 153, 299 (in Hebrew)
Yaffa Levy | 8.1999
Author of description
Yaffa Levy (Entering the data: Tova Szeintuch) | 10.2000; 2009; 2018
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal | 2018
Language Editor
Judith Cardozo | 7.2002
Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |