The manuscript with its large dimensions is a typical Franconian liturgical Pentateuch of the second half of the 13th century. It can be attributed more specifically to the last decades of the 13th century from its mixed practice of ruling: the pricking in both outer and inner margins is “modern”, whereas the ruling by stylus keeps to the “old” method (Beit-Arié 1981, p. 84). It is written in three columns with the massorah and the Targum verse by verse, and in addition to the haftarot and Five Scrolls it contains the book of Job and sections of Jeremiah (1:1-23:6) and Isaiah (34:1-35:10). Apparently it was intended for reading the haftarot in the synagogue rather than for personal use (Shalev-Eyni 2010, pp. 9-10 and n. 55).
Fig. 1: Micrographic decoration
Fig.2: Micrographic decoration Munich Liturgical Pentateuch Former and Latter Prophets Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 2, fol. 64v Germany, the second half of the 13th century London, BL Or. 2091, fol. 324 (London, BL Website; Jerusalm, CJA documentation)
Fig. 3: Micrographic decoration The Jonah Pentateuch South Germany, c.1300 London, BL Add. 21160, fol. 184 (London, BL Website; Jerusalem CJA documentation) Munich Liturgical Pentateuch
Fig. 4: Micrographic decoration Fig. 5:Micrographic decoration Munich Liturgical Pentateuch Paris Bible Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 2, fol. 204 Franconia, 1294/95 Paris, BnF hébr. 6, fol. 268v (Sed-Rajna 1994, Cat. 71, pp. 183-187)
The micrographic decoration of our Pentateuch recalls several South German Bibles produced in the last decade of the 13th century. Compare for example our manuscript (fig. 1) with the 13th-century South German Bible in London (fig. 2). In both the geometrical and dragon motifs surround the text space as well as the initials and extend along the lower margins, similar to the South German Jonah Pentateuch of c.1300 (fig. 3).
The geometrical interlaces with pen-drawn dragon's heads at their ends on the left of the lower margins of our Pentateuch (figs. 1, 4), are similar to another Franconian Bible of 1294/95 (fig. 5).
Fig. 5:Micrographic decoration, Paris Bible, Franconia, 1294/95, Paris, BnF hébr. 6, fol. 268v
(Sed-Rajna 1994, Cat. 71, pp. 183-187)
Fig. 6: Full-page micrographic panel
Fig. 7: Full-page micrographic panel Munich Liturgical Pentateuch Pesah ben Ephraim Prophets and Hagiography Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 2, fol. 153v Franconia, c.1300 New York, JTS MS L228a, fol. 19 (Jerusalem, CJA documentation)
Of special interest is the full-page micrographic panel at the end of a quire in our manuscript (fig. 6). Its broad frame recalls in shape and details the micrographic panel framing the initial word opening the book of Joshua in the Franconian Prophets and Hagiography by Pesah ben Ephraim of c.1300 (fig.7). Both panels contain inhabited medallions, and those in the upper corners enclose similar heraldic eagles.
Fig. 8: Inhabited medallions Fig. 9: Inhabited medallions Vatican Bible Paris Bible Germany, 1294 Franconia, 1294/95 Vatican, BAV Cod. Urb. ebr. 1, fol. 829v Paris, BnF hébr. 5, fol. 119 (Jerusalem CJA documentation) (Sed-Rajna 1994, Cat. 71, pp. 183-187)
The two-legged hybrids within the lower medallions in our frame (fig. 6) recall those in the Vatican Bible of 1294 (fig. 8), as well as those in the initial word panel of the Paris Bible of 1294/95 (fig. 9).
Fig. 9: Inhabited medallions, Paris Bible Franconia, 1294/95 Paris, BnF hébr. 5, fol. 119 (Sed-Rajna 1994, Cat. 71, pp. 183-187)
Fig. 10: Hunting scene, Munich Liturgical Pentateuch Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 2, fol. 64
Fig. 11: Hunting scenes Munich Liturgical Pentateuch Rashi Biblical Commentary Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 2, fol. 64 South Germany, Würzburg, 1232/33 Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 5, II:122v (Jerusalem, CJA documentation 2012)
A noteworthy drawing in our manuscript is that of the two dogs at the end of Exodus chasing an animal which is out of sight (fig. 10). This snippet of a popular hunting scene (fig.11) suggests that the two dogs serve as a decorative motif rather than a symbolic one (see remarks in Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 5, fol. 122v).
The only text illustration in our Pentateuch is of the Hanging of Haman and his ten Sons on the gallows (Esther 7:10, 9:6-10; fig. 12). The dangling figures outlined in the micrography of the massorah magna are similar to the dangling birds (fig. 13), and recall the Four Creatures of Ezekiel’s Vision, illustrating the text in the Jonah Pentateuch from South Germany of c.1300 (fig. 14).
Fig. 12: Hanging of Haman and his Sons Munich Liturgical Pentateuch Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 2, fol. 261
Fig. 13: Massoretic text shaped as dangling birds Munich Liturgical Pentateuch Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 2, fol. 252
Fig. 14: The Four Creatures of Ezekiel’s Vision The Jonah Pentateuch, South Germany, c.1300 London, BL Add. 21160, fol. 285 (Narkiss 1984, fig. 44)
The hanging of Haman and his Sons is often depicted in the Jewish art of Western Europe from the 13th century on, but the iconography differs from our manuscript. In Ashkenazi Bibles and mahzorim Haman and his sons are usually hanged from the branches of a large tree, which fills an entire text column. One example is in the Kalonymos Bible from Ulm of 1238 (Wrocław, University Library, M.1106, fol. 301v; Narkiss 1986, p. 82, fig. 5; Sternthal 2008, p. 51). A similar depiction is found in the Michael Mahzor from Regensburg of 1258 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mich. 627, fol. 15), as well as in the Laud Mahzor from Franconia of c.1260 (fig. 15).
Fig. 15: Hanging of Haman and Sons Laud Mahzor Franconia, c.1260 Oxford, Bodl. Lib. Laud. Or. 321, fol. 51 (Sed-Rajna 1983, fig. 25)
Fig. 16: Hanging of Haman and his sons, Regensburg Pentateuch Liturgical Pentateuch Regensburg, c.1300
Jerusalem, IM MS180/52, fol. 157v Paris, BnF hébr. 53, fol. 130 (Jerusalem, CJA documentation)
Fig. 17: Hanging of Haman's Sons North France, third quarter of the 13th century (Sed-Rajna 1994, Cat. 60, p. 152)
However, a comparable scene to that in our manuscript, albeit depicting a two-tiered gallows, is found in the Regensburg Pentateuch (fig. 16). Haman is hanging separately above his sons. A similar gallows appears in another Ashkenazi Liturgical Pentateuch from Northern France of the mid-13th century (fig. 17). In this example the sons are not depicted but represented by ten double ropes arranged in two tiers; that for Haman is missing.
The hanging of Haman and his Sons is unique to Ashkenazi iconography. They are considered descendants of Amalek, and like him were destined to annihilation (Horowitz 2006, pp. 95-96). Since the Ashkenazi Jews suffered frequent persecutions at that period, the depiction of the hanging of Haman and his sons alludes to their wish to see the destruction of their enemies (Kogman-Appel 2005, pp. 187-208). On the other hand, in Christian art Haman is usually depicted hanging without his sons, as a prefiguration of the crucifixion of Christ. One example is in the Hortus Deliciarum from Alsace of 1167-1185 (fig. 18).
Fig. 18: Hanging of Haman Hortus Deliciarum Alsace, before 1176 - c.1196 (Green et al. 1979, fol. 60v, fig. 89) In our Pentateuch, Haman, and his Sons are depicted without heads (fig. 12). The convention of avoiding human features or distorting them by depicting hidden faces or animal heads was prevalent in South German Hebrew manuscripts of the 13th and 14th centuries. Yet the way chosen by our artist to avoid showing the human face is unique: each pair of figures shares a single visor without heads, recalling that in the Michael Mahzor of 1258 (e.g. fols. 4v, 11; van Boxel and Arndt 2010, p. 49, fig. 27). The phenomenon of avoidance of human features in Ashkenazi manuscripts has been studied by several scholars over the last sixty years (e.g. Ameisenowa 1949, pp. 21-45; Narkiss 1983, pp. 49-62; Mellinkoff 1999) though without a satisfactory conclusion.
In the late 16th or the beginning of the 17th century, our manuscript was in the possession of Shlomo Ulma of Augsburg or Prague (see History) who owned two other manuscripts: the French Talmud of 1342 (Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 95), and the 1309 Levy Pentateuch of Brussels (Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. Levy, 19). At some point, the Ulma family sold our manuscript to the Stadtbibliothek Augsburg olim MS 98 (now Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg), from whence it reached in 1806 the Hofbibliothek in Munich, together with 113 manuscripts and prints (informed by Dr. Paul Gerhard Dannhauer, former curator of the Oriental Manuscripts Department in BSB Library, Munich).See below, "Additional Remarks"
Text space: (282-290) x (215-219) mm.
Height with massorah: (352-364) mm.
Vellum, II + 331 + II leaves.
Full page: (388-390) x (307-313) mm.
Text space: (282-290) x (215-219) mm.
Height with massorah: (352-364) mm.
Two scribes: Scribe A: The main scribe writes most of the text (fols. 1-317v) and all the plain and decorated massorah, except that of Scribe B. Scribe B: Text of fols. 318-331v: the massorah in foliate roundels in the lower margin and outlines of the initial word דברי (fol. 318: Scribe A writes the plain massorah to the end).
Script The main text is written in square Ashkenazi script in dark and light brown ink; the massorah magna and parva are in small square Ashkenazi script in light brown ink
. Number of Columns Main text: Written in three columns, each 60 mm wide; end of Job (fol. 317v) in two columns. Ends of books in the Pentateuch are in shaped text (fols. 64, 117, 204, 249v). First and second Songs of Moses (fols. 83-83v, 245v-247), Song of Deborah (fol. 245v-247) and Song of David (fols. 297v-298) are written in brickwork pattern ) Meg. 16b).
The number of lines Main text: 30-31 lines per column. Massorah magna: 2 lines at the top and 3-4 at the bottom.
Ruling by a stylus on hair side of each bifolium. Most quires are ruled by stylus, except for plummet used to emphasize ruling which was not deep enough (fols. 293v-331). Main text: 30-31 horizontal and 2 + 2 + 2+ 1 lines (first three quires) and 2 + 3 + 3 + 1 (the rest of the manuscript). Massorah magna: 3 horizontal lines at the top and 4 at the bottom. In addition, 6 horizontal lines are ruled across the width of the page at the top, middle and bottom of the text column (e.g. 293v-296, lines 1 and 3, 15 and 17, 28 and 30).
Pricking Noticeable in all margins; sometimes there are separate pricks for massorah magna in the lower margins (e.g. fols. 35, 117, 154, 258).
Quires 41 quires of 8 leaves each, except for I8+1 (single last folio with catchword), XLI8+2 (single last two leaves to end of text). The quires are numbered in Arabic numerals in grey and red plummet (from back to front) at the lower left-hand corner of the final verso of all quires, e.g. fols. 9v: 40; fol. 17v: 39; fol. 25v: 38 etc. The last quire (41st) is numbered 1 on fol. 329v (instead of 331v, the end); the penultimate quire (40th) is not numbered. Quire structure: I8+1 (1-9v: single last leaf with catchword); II8 (10-17v); III8 (18-25v); IV8 (26-33v); V8 (34-41v); VI8 (42-49v); VII8 (50-57v); VIII8 (58-65v); IX8 (66-73v); X8 (74-81v); XI8 (82-89v); XII8 (90-97v); XIII8 (98-105v); XIV8 (106-113v); XV8 (114-121v); XVI8 (122-129v); XVII8 (130-137v); XVIII8 (138-145v); XIX8 (146-153v); XX8 (154-161v); XXI8 (162-169v); XXII8 (170-177v); XXIII8 (178-185v); XXIV8 (186-193v); XXV8 (194-201v); XXVI8 (202-209v); XXVII8 (210-217v); XXVIII8 (218-225v); XXIX8 (226-233v); XXX8 (234-241v); XXXI8 (242-249v); XXXII8 (250-257v); XXXIII8 (258-265v); XXXIV8 (266-273v); XXXV8 (274-281v); XXXVI8 (282-289v); XXXVII8 (290-297v); XXXVIII8 (298-305v); XXXIX8 (306-313v); XL8 (314-321v); XLI8+2 (322-331v: two last single leaves). The quires are arranged according to the Gregory rule, although the differences between hair and flesh sides are hardly visible.
Catchwords Horizontal undecorated catchwords to quires in square script in the lower left-hand corner of the last verso of almost every quire.
None Blank leaves None
German binding of the end of the 16th century, probably done while the manuscript was in the possession of the Ulma family (see History).
Similar off-white front and back leather covers on wooden boards. In the centre of each cover is the imperial emblem of a double-headed eagle with a scepter and globe, over stamped on an octagon which originally decorated the centre of both covers. The emblem is enclosed in rectangular frames, some of which are blind-tooled with foliate scrolls.
The spine has four double-cords with head and tail bands. A piece of brown leather is stuck on to the spine with a gold-tooled frame and inscription: BIBLIA HEBRAICA. On the upper part of the spine is an effaced inscription in Hebrew חמש מגילו(ת) (Five scrolls) and an illegible cursive inscription in Latin.
Vestiges of double clasps on the front and back covers. The last back flyleaf has a watermark of a lion rampant, facing left, in a crowned shield with two handles, over the monogram ML (no exact match was found). The countermark on the first flyleaf has the monogram TSB (similar to Heawood, No. 3134, Nuremberg 18th century).
The decorated massorah was mostly done by Scribe A, the main scribe and massorator. Scribe B, who wrote the last folios (fols. 318-331), executed only the massorah of the opening page in foliate roundels and the outlines of the initial word of the book of Jeremiah (fol. 318).
The decoration consists mainly of geometrical, vegetable and zoomorphic interlaces of micrographic massorah especially in the lower margins at the beginning and end of books. It includes one text illustration, the Hanging of Haman and his Sons at the beginning of the Esther Scroll (fol. 261). In one case the massorah is incorporated into a full-page decoration (fol. 153v)
. I. Decorated massorah in micrography:
1. One text illustration of the Hanging of Haman and his Sons in the lower margin on the opening page of the Book of Esther (fol. 261).
2. One full-page micrographic decoration between the books of Leviticus and Numbers (fol. 153v).
3. Decorated massorah in the margins on many pages throughout the manuscript and especially on the first text page of almost every book (fols. 1, 64v, 117, 154, 204, 250, 252, 256v, 261, 305v, 318).
The decoration consists of various interlaces of geometrical, floral and zoomorphic motifs: fleurs-de-lis and acanthus scrolls (e.g. fols. 1, 90, 154, 250, 318), trefoil leaves (e.g. fols. 70, 86v) and elaborate trees (e.g. fols. 113v). Some are combined with a pen-drawn dragon's head and tail with a geometric or foliate body (e.g. fols. 49v, 137, 171v, 180v, 184v, 195, 204, 209, 215v), pairs of facing dragon's heads (e.g. fols. 75v, 90), birds, a hoopoe and winged dragon (fol. 204), medallions inhabited by two-legged hybrids (fol. 117) and two birds pecking at a fleur-de-lis or a scroll (fols. 11v, 252). Other forms of micrography are in geometrical shapes such as a chain of roundels (e.g. fols. 17, 80v, 305v), a meander-like pattern (e.g. fols. 55v, 98v, 102v, 126), interlacing bands (e.g. fols. 64v, 117, 154, 221), some ending in pen-drawn dragon's heads (e.g. fols. 98v, 117, 256v) and zigzag variations (e.g. fols. 28, 32v, 38v, 44v, 60, 94v, 227v). There are also arch forms (e.g. fols. 28, 137).
4. Initial words outlined in micrography: Exodus (fol. 64v), Deuteronomy (fol. 204), Song of Songs (fol. 256v) and Jeremiah (fol. 318). The massoretic decoration surrounding the initial words of Exodus and Deuteronomy is combined with floral and zoomorphic penwork decoration (fols. 64v, 204).
II. The decorated initial word of almost every book is written in display letters in brown ink (height 6-9 lines) with decorated vowel points, except for Ecclesiastes whose initial word letters are in ink outline (fol. 252), probably intended to be filled in with brown ink. The initial words of Exodus, Deuteronomy, Song of Songs and Jeremiah (fols. 64v, 204, 256v and 318) are outlined in micrography (see above).
III. Shaped text at the end of books: fols. 64 (Genesis), 117 (Exodus), 204 (Numbers), 249v (Deuteronomy), 266 (Five Scrolls) and 331v (end of the manuscript) are all written in goblet-shapes. Genesis (fol. 64) is also decorated below with a hunting scene of two running hounds, and Exodus (fol. 117) is flanked by two medallions inhabited by two-legged hybrids.
VI. Parashot, end-of-book or half-book signs and other massoratic notes (e.g. fols. 82v, 107v, 153) are framed in simple shields (e.g. fols. 31v, 90, 176, 204).