Under Reconstruction!
Object Alone

Obj. ID: 26162
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Liturgical Pentateuch, France, France, before 1348

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

The manuscript consists of the Pentateuch, Megillot and Haftarot. By the middle of the fourteenth century manuscripts with similar biblical contents were quite common in Ashkenazi circles inGermanyandFranceprobably made for personal use in the synagogue and at home (see Narkiss, Albenc Pentateuch, p. 320).

However, our manuscript is a rare addition since it include the text of Sefer ha-Gan, a commentary on the Pentateuch mainly based on midrashic sources, composed by R. Aaron ben Joseph ben Aaron ha-Cohen who lived in northern France in the first half of the 13th century and wrote Sefer ha-Gan around the year 1240 (see Orlian, Sefer ha-Gan, pp. 25-26). Although the ink colour of the text of Sefer ha-Gan is lighter than the rest of the text in the manuscript, there is no reason to assume that it was not an original part of the manuscript. The planning ahead of the space for Sefer ha-Gan proves that it was written at the time of the book production. On e.g. fol. 139, circles designated for Sefer ha-Gan done when ruling was prepared. It shows that all different texts in our book were planned ahead. Moreover, it seems that Sefer ha-Gan preceded the Massorah, since on fol. 234v, for example, the Massorah encloses the text of the commentary which is written in a circle at the lower part of the page.

Our Pentateuch which shows a skillful collaboration between three scribes has no colophon which states the name of the scribe and the date and place of its production. It is probable, however, that the name of the main scribe (A) is Hayyim, since the word hayyim (חיים) is marked in the text (fol. 35v) and in the catchword (fol. 8v). Schwarz ( Catalogue, No. 19) describes the script in our manuscript as a French script of the 14th century, and in the Hebrew Palaeography Project (see ZJ 19) it is suggested that the manuscript may have originated in France. Shalev-Eyni (Tripartite Mahzor, pp. 25-32) also indicated that the type of treatment of the parchment of our  manuscript, in which the hair side is noticeable, supports a French origin. Indeed, according to Beit-Arié ( Hebrew Codicology, pp. 22-23) in the end of the 12th century a new technique entered Ashkenaz, in which the differences between the hair side and the flesh side were blurred so that it was not so noticeable. InFrance, however, although the new technique was partially adopted, the old technique, in which the hair marks were still noticeable, continued to be used. If so, the hair marks in the Vienna Pentateuch support the notion of a French origin. 

Shalev-Eyni (Tripartite Mahzor, pp. 25-32) also compared our Vienna Pentateuch from palaeographic, codicologic and stylistic aspects to the Ashkenazi Duke of Sussex Pentateuch (London British Library, Add. Ms. 15282), written around 1300 in Lake Constance region,  and found a close connection between the scripts and layout of the page of these two manuscripts. These indicate a direct relationship between them and show that both scribes are rooted in the French tradition (see also Narkiss, HIM, p. 31 and Pl. 29). Although the Vienna  Pentateuch was probably also written by a scribe named Hayyim, this is not the same scribe Hayyim who copied the Tripartite Mahzor and the Duke of Sussex Pentateuch. Nevertheless, the scribes of both Pentateuch employ similar motifs in the design of the micrography. In both manuscripts, a common motif is triangular shapes with a small circle set within them. These triangles are adjacent to the upper or lower Massorah lines and their point faces outward. The triangles are arranged in a symmetric manner. Specifically similar in both manuscripts is the design of the flag of the letter lamed.  Both manuscripts also used similar models for designing the micrography, as for example, the left dragon on fol. 81v of the Vienna Pentateuch is similar to the dragon on fol. 67 of the Duke of Sussex. Both heads are roundish and large in proportion to the body, their mouths are open and they have large eyes and pointy ears.  Their foliate tails scroll around and have similar heart-shaped leaves. It would seem that the shaping of the nose in the Duke of Sussex is a less successful copy of the model than the nose that appears in the Vienna manuscript. Shalev-eyni also shows similarities in the iconography in both manuscripts. A prominent example is a ladder illustrating the text of Jacob's dream. In the Vienna manuscript (fol. 39v) the ladder is placed diagonally along the lower margin while in the Duke of Sussex (fol. 39), the ladder is designed along the outer margins.


The Vienna Pentateuch also contains two maps set in the margins of two consecutive pages (fols. 234v and 244v), illustrating the text and executed in ink. These maps are two out of four maps which often appear in a group of Ashkenazi copies of Rashi's commentary on the Bible as a separate unit, dating between the 13th and the 14th century (e.g., Rashi of Würzburg (Mϋnchen, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod. Hebr. 5, Vols. I & II), described in detail by Professor Narkiss (Narkiss, Rashi U'mapotav, pp. 435-439) and in four manuscripts housed in Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Cod. Hebrèus 154, 155, 161, 156, described in detail by Gabrielle Sed-Rajna (Sed-Rajna, Les Manuscrits Hebreux, pp. 224-232). Several manuscripts of this group are housed in the Vienna collection – see documentation in this catalog of Hebr. 12b, as well as Hebrs. 23 and 24). Our manuscript cannot be considered as part of this group, as its origin seems to be French, and it does not contain only the Rashi text, but also the text of the Pentateuch, Massorah and Targumim.

It is important to note that these maps found in Hebrew medieval manuscripts were later omitted from most of the printed editions of Rashi's commentary. 

The two maps in the Vienna Pentatuech are considered to be a pair, and most manuscripts including Rashi's maps include both of these maps (Delano-Smith and Gruber, Rashi's Legacy, p. 30). The first map in our manuscript, which is schematically drawn, illustrates Rashi's commentary to Numbers 34:3 (fol. 243v) and the second map illustrates the text of Numbers 34:2-12 and Rashi's commentary (fol. 244v), dealing with the boundaries of theLandofIsraelfrom the South, through the West and East till the North. This second map in the Vienna Pentateuch is elegantly drawn in ink and includes visual details and decorations less commonly found in copies of Rashi's maps, which are usually more schematic in nature, such as different shaped lines indicating bodies of water, fish swimming in the Great Sea, a visual depiction of Mt. Hor as a small heap over a large heap (as described by Rashi in his commentary to Numbers 20: 22, based on other sources describing the Mountain of Hor as a "mountain on top of a mountain, like a small heap above a large heap" (הר על גבי הר כתפוח קטן על גבי תפוח גדול), trefoil arches, gables, turrets of a tower and a decorated gouache band. Another copy of this map which also includes particular visual details and decoration can be found in a fourteenth century Provencal Pentateuch, housed in the Biblioteca Laurentiana in Florence(Ms. Plaut 3.10 appearing in Delano-Smith and Gruber, Rashi's Legacy, p. 33).  It is interesting to note that in the Vienna Pentateuch, the compartment designated for the location "the entrance of Hamath" ((לבא חמת, is inscribed instead "Antiochia" אנטוכיא, which appears in Rashi's commentary (as well as in other commentaries) and was probably the metropolis of the country known as Hamath (ארץ חמת).  Most of the other copies of the map retained the inscription "the entrance of Hamath" (לבא חמת) for this country, according to the biblical text and do not inscribe the compartment with the name of אנטוכיא.

Another variant appearing in this map in the Vienna Pentateuch is the addition of a second inscription under "Mt.Hor" (הר ההר), marking the location of "Turi Amnom" (טורי אמנום).  This is based on Rashi's commentary to the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Gittin, 8a, in which he brings the Yerushalmi translation forMt.Hor as "Turi Amnon" ( טורי אמנון).  This location is not often marked in the copies of Rashi's maps but appears for example in the map drawn on fol. 140 the Rashi of Würzburg (Mϋnchen, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod. Hebr. 5, Vols. I).


Several years after our Vienna Pentateuch was copied in France, the manuscript reached Provence. This is indicated by the inscription found on fol. 362v (see History). There, during the Black Plague (1349), the manuscript was brought to the city of Igish (איגש), after it was saved from a fire which broke out in the community of Melanma D'shatron (מלנמא דשטרון)". Shalev-Eyni suggests, that it is possible that the manuscript reached Provence as a result of the expulsion of the Jews during the first quarter of the 14th century (1306, 1322).

31 image(s)

sub-set tree:

French Liturgical Pentateuch | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
before 1348
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Period Detail
Austria | Vienna | Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (ÖNB)
| Cod.hebr.28 (Schwartz, No. 19)
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Type of grave
Material / Technique
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Panel Measurements
Good. Restored in 2003. A small piece is cut off in the lower margins of some pages (e.g. fols. 52-53, 84, 85, 164,165, 189, 198, 275).
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
Pentateuch, Haftarot and Megillot vocalized, punctuated and massorated with Targumim, Rashi's commentary on the biblical text and Sefer ha-Gan commentary on the Pentateuch. Main text: Pentateuch: Genesis (fols. 1v-77), Exodus (fols. 77v-141v), Leviticus (fols. 142-185v), Numbers (fols. 185v-247v), Deuteronomy (fols. 247v-302v). Targum Yerushalmi incorporated in the text on fols. 57, 67v. Haftarot: (fols. 303-362). Megilot: Song of Songs (fols. 363-368), Ruth (fols. 368-372v), Lamentation (fols. 373-378v), Ecclesiastes (fols. 378v-389), Esther (fols. 389-401). The biblical text is also furnished with the Massorah magna and parva (fols. 1v-401). The Massorah magna is mostly in 2 or 3 top lines and 3 or 4 bottom lines; the Massorah parva flanking the bible text. Marginal text: Targum Onkelos (fols. 1v-302v) written in a narrow column in the inner margin. Targum for the Haftarot for Passover and Shavout (fols. 346v-352). Targum for the Megillot: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentation, Ecclesiastes (fols. 363-389); Targum Sheni for Esther scroll (fols. 389-401). The Targumim are written in the inner margins. Rashi’s commentary on the biblical text (fols. 1v-401) written in the outer margins of the Pentateuch, in all margins of the Haftarot and in the outer margin of the Megillot, except for: Ecclesiastes which is also written in the lower margin and Esther scroll which is written in shaped text of circles at the upper and lower margins Sefer ha-Gan commentary on the Pentateuch by Aaron ben Joseph ben Aaron ha-Cohen (fols. 1v-302v) is written in various shaped text mainly of two circles above and below Targum Onkelos’ text column.


Parchment, I + 401 + I leaves.

The quires arranged according to Gregory rule starting with the hair side. Hair side is distinguishable from flash side in most pages.



Full page: (284-287) X (193-197) mm

Main text with commentaries: (204-244) X (121-157) mm

Pentateuch: (136-138) X (58-62) mm

Five scrolls: (137-140) X (52-59) mm

Haftarot in two columns: ca. 137 X 90 mm; column’s width: 39-41mm

Haftarot for Passover and Shavuot in one column: ca. 134 X (70-81) mm



The manuscript was copied by three scribes:


Scribe A, main scribe: Hayyim

Bible text, Targumim and Rashi's commentary

fols. 1v-401


Scribe B, massorator and decorator




   fols. 1v-401


Scribe C


Sefer ha-Gan


   fols. 1v-302v


The vocalizer-corrector, which probably was scribe B, divulged his hand by correcting the Targum (e.g. fols. 100, 100v) and the main text (e.g. fol. 362).



Biblical text is written in square Franco-Ashkenazi script in dark brown ink.  Massorah magna and parva are written in a small square Ashkenazi script in brown ink

Targumim for the Pentateuch and the Haftarot for Passover and Shavout are written in small square script in dark brown ink

Targum for Five scrolls is written in small square and semi-cursive scripts in brown ink

Rashi’s commentary is written in semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in dark brown ink 

Sefer ha-Gan commentary is written in semi-cursive Ashkenazi tiny script in dark and light brown ink in shaped text mainly of circles.


Number of columns

The main text of the Pentateuch and the Five scrolls are written in one column; the Haftarot are in two columns, except for the Haftarot for Passover and Shavuot in one column (346v-352).


Number of lines

Main text (fols. 1v-401)

23 lines per column

Targum Onkelos (fols. 1v-302v)

Mainly in 34-46 lines per page

Targum for Haftarot for Passover and Shavout (fols. 346v-352)

Mainly in 43-47 lines

Targum for Five scrolls (fols. 363-401)

In various number of lines some in between 49-82 lines.

Rashi’s commentary (fols. 1v-401)

In various number of lines

Massorah magna and parva for Pentateuch (fols. 1v- 302v) and Five scrolls (fols. 363-401)

3 + 4 lines

Massorah magna and parva for the Haftarot (fols. 303-362)

Mainly 2 + 3 lines, some are of e.g. 2 + 2 lines (e.g. fols. 329, 329v, 332, 356)

Sefer ha-Gan commentary

Mainly 9-18 lines in circle shaped text



The ruling of the manuscript is varied in many pages. All ruled by plummet on both sides of the page:

Ruling for the Pentateuch, mainly of 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 vertical lines (e.g. fols. 34v, 35, 36, 38, 54, 96, 136, 171, 262 and 269v) and 4 + 3 + 24 + 4 + 5 horizontal lines (e.g. fols.10, 13, 86v, 138v, 188, 159, 203v, 206).

Ruling for the haftarot, 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 vertical lines (e.g. fol. 304) and 4 + 3 + 24 + 4 + 5 horizontal lines.

Ruling for the Five scrolls is mainly of 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 vertical lines  (e.g. fol. 368) or 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 vertical lines ( e.g. fols. 376, 382) and 4 + 3 + 24 + 4 + 5 horizontal lines (e.g. fols. 372, 376, 378). 

Additional horizontal ruling by plummet for the Targumim and Rashi’s commentary of more than 40 lines appears in many pages (e.g. fols. 35, 55, 86, 86v, 138v, .258, 364, 368, 377).

Ruling for Sefer ha-Gan of circles in the inner margin on top and bottom of Targum Onkelos column is seen on fol. e.g. 139.



Is evident in the inner margin (for the first two quires) and in upper and lower margins.



50 quires of 8 leaves each, except for XXV10, XXXVIII4, XLII12 and L8-1. 



Catchwords are written horizontally at the lower left hand corner of the final verso of almost every quire, in the same square script as the text. Most catchwords are also surmounted by simple motives. On fol. 8v the catchword “hayyim” (חיים) (which is also the name of the scribe) is also flanked by two pen-drawn confronting hooded human-faced hybrids.

The central befolia in some quires are marked by a horizontal line at the folding point (e.g. fols. 12v-13, fols. 100v-101, fols. 278v-279), probably as a guideline for (or by) a binder.


Hebrew numeration

For the quires in Hebrew letters in the lower left hand corner of the versos of the first four leaves of the quire (i.e. marking the four bifolia of the quire), starting on quire III (fols. 17-20) with the letter ג (=3). In this quire in addition to the letter ג, these four leaves are also numbered in Latin ciphers I-IIII (=IV) probably by a later binder.

As in this third quire, the first four leaves of some other quires are also numerated I-IIII (e.g. XXIII, XXV). The Latin nameration appears more often in the last quires of the book (e.g. XXXIV, XLI-XLII and XLIII, XLV).

It should be noted that in quires XXIII – XXXIX the Hebrew numbers does not follow the order of the quires in the manuscript. The difference is one number, e.g. quire XXIII is כב (22 and not 23) and quire XXV is כד (24 instead of 25). From quire XL on, the gaps between the order of the quires and the numeration are of 4 numbers or more, e.g. quire XLI is marked on fol. 322 מה (45 instead of 41).


Blank leaves

Fol. 362v was originally a blank leaf.


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
Scribal Notes
Scribe A - Hayyim (חיים): A. The emphasis of the name of scribe A: Fol. 8v, the catchword “hayyim” (חיים) is topped by a triangle of dots and decorated with two confronting hybrids. Fol. 35v (at the beginning of the third line from the bottom), the word “hayyim” is marked by a diagonal row of dots. B. Blessings' formulas at the end of sections by the scribe: • In Targum Onkelos: Fol. 141v, at the end of Exodus: נשלם ספר ואלה שמות/ יחי הסופר ואל ימות "The book of Exodus is complete. The scribe will live and not die". • In the Haftarot: Fol. 362, left column, at the end of the entire Haftarot (punctuated): חזק/ ונתחזק הכותב/ לא יזק לא היום/ ולא לעולם עד שיעלה/ חמור בסולם אשר/ יעקב אבינו/ חלם/. ברוך נותן כח לאין אונים/ בורא תחתונים ועליונים/ ברחמיו יגאל מבין עוינים/ אום לעבודתו מזומנים. "Strengthen and be strong. The scribe not be harmed today nor ever until a donkey climbs up a ladder that our father Jacob dreamed. Blessed be he who gives strength to the weakens. He who creates heaven and earth, with his mercy, he will redeem the Nation from hostiles". • In Rashi’s commentary: Fol. 185v, at the end of Rashi’s commentary to Leviticus (3rd line from the bottom): שבח לאדיר ונורא. נשלם ספר ויקרא. ה' לי ולא אירא. ואויבי יהי נשבה ונשבר. בהתחילי ספר במדבר "The book of Leviticus is complete. The Lord is on my side I will not fear. "My enemies will be captured and brakes while I start the book of Numbers". Fol. 247v, at the end of Rashi’s commentary to Numbers (starts on the 2nd line from the top of the page): ושבח לה' מעלה ירודים. נשלם פי' חומש הפיקודים. ובשם שדי שמים שפרה. עוטה כשלמה אורה/ אתחיל/ פירוש מ/ משנה/ תורה/ אמ'/ א' "Blessed is the Lord who elevates the inferiors. Completed the book of Leviticus. and in the name of G-d who "garnished the heavens " (Job 27:13) "coverest thyself with light as with a garment" (based on Ps. 104:2) I will start the commentary to the book of Deuteronomy". Fol. 302v, at the end of Rashi’s commentary to the Pentateuch (upper outer margin): ספר דברים מסויים/ שבחות לחי/ וקיים דורך/ על במתי/ ים "The book of Deuteronomy is completed glories to the Lord "Treadeth upon the waves of the sea" (Job 9:8)". C. End of book sign: At the end of each book of the Pentateuch and the Megilot is a verse-sum sign. (e.g. fol. 302v (at the end of Deut.), verse-sum, Siman, in an architectonic form. Fol. 401, the last (unvocalized) line of Esther scroll (also the end of the book): חזק ונתחזק הכותב לא יזק א' ס' "Strengthen and be strong. The scribe will not be harmed. Amen sela". At the bottom of the page, written in micrography in a geometrical design, are Sedarim followed by the text: לא אמות כי אחיה ואספר מעשה יה / ברוך צורי שדי אשר חיזק ידי ועיני יאיר עד בלי די "I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord" (Ps. 118:18). Blessed be He. My rock, Shadai, who strengthen my hands and light my eyes without limit. Middle of the Pentateuch". D. Instructions for copying: Fol. 302v, at the end of the Massorah parva to the left of the word חזק(end of Deuteronomy): לעיני/ כל/ ישרא'/ באמצע/ שטה/ ובסוף/ הדף "In the sight of all Israel (Deut. 31:7)" should be written in the middle of the line and at the end of the page.Fol. 363, at the end of the outer marginal column of the first page of Song of Songs, written vertically in the columns' text: חזור וגמור תרגום הדף הזה [של שיר השירים בדף הבא] "Complete the Targum [on Song of Song] of this page on the next page". חזור וגמור פי'[רוש] הדף [הזה של שיר השירים בדף הבא] "Complete [Rashi’s commentary on Song of Song] of this page on the next page".
Trade Mark


Binding measurements: 305 X207 mm; width of spine98 mm.

18th century binding of light brown leather on thick cardboards, blind-tooled with three-line frame and by an additional inner frame of running Greek wave motif enclosing rosettes. The spine is divided into six sections; each decorated on top and bottom by a gold-tooled band and floral corners, except for the second section which is not decorated. The uppermost section includes also at its center the Emblem of the Habsburg Empire.

The binding was restored in 2003 by the ÖNB restoration department.


Decoration Program

The main decoration of the manuscript executed by the massorator (scribe B) consisting of zoomorphic, fantastic, foliate and geometrical shapes outlined in massoretic micrography. The decoration appears mainly in the Pentateuch. A few of which are text illustrations to the Pentateuch represented by a single object of the text as a condensed allusion to the scene (e.g. a ladder illustrating the text of Jacob's dream, (fol. 39v)). The decoration is placed mostly in the outer margin, but some are also in the lower margin.

The main scribe A illustrates the text commentary e.g. the two maps in Rashi's commentary (fols. 243v, 244v) or the diagram of Jacob's and his women's tents in Sefer ha-Gan commentary (fol. 45) . He is also responsible for the catchwords and apparently for their decoration: the two hybrids (fol. 8v) and probably the pen drawn small monkey on fol. 181v. His dragons and foliate motifs differ from the style of the massorator (compare the hybrids on fol. 194v by massorator with fol. 8v  by the scribe A: they are not the same: different nose, different curving of head, different way of rendering legs). Scribe A also writes the signs at end of books (fols. 77, 302v, 401) as well as the andulating leaves in the Targum (fols. 181v; fol. 372v) and in the commentary (fols. 355, 373v).

Each page of the manuscript includes various texts skillfully arranged together: the biblical text in the centre of the page is surrounded by the Targumim in the inner margin, and in the three outer margins by the commentary by Rashi. The biblical text is also furnished with Massorah magna and parva and with Sefer ha-Gan commentary on the Pentateuch which is written in shapes of circles on top and bottom of Targum Onkelos in the inner margin.


I. Decorations by the massorator (scribe B):

A.   Decorative massoretic micrography: including a stork (e.g. fol. 87v), a pigeon (e.g. fol. 368v), a fish (whale or dolphin) biting its fin (fol. 160), a lioness (fol. 40) and variety of two-legged dragons and hybrids. Some are with a leafy tail or tongue (e.g. fols. 57, 98, 102v, 122, 154, 187v, 223v, 232, 237, 257v, 282, 370), others depicted with head and tail in one unit (e.g. fols. 2v-3, 70, 250), or as a pair of dragons (fol. 81v), with intertwined tails and tongues (fol. 186). The hybrids are with human or bird face wearing hoods (fols. 6v, 37v-38, 118, 149, 194v). Other depictions include stylized floral and foliate motifs (e.g. fols. 1v, 2, 10, 27, 64, 194, 275v). There are also architectural structures (e.g. fols. 1v, 2, 4v, 214v), a key (fols. 17, 77), a spear (fol. 61), and geometrical motives of a circle (e.g. fol. 8, 9), chain of circles (e.g. fol. 56v, 206v), a zig-zag (e.g. fols. 9, 58, 111), a triangle (e.g. fol. 50), a wheel (fol. 189v) and plaited motifs (e.g. fol. 20v, 101v). In some pages the massoratic micrography frames most of the page (e.g. fols. 187v, 232).

B.   Illustrative massoretic micrography: including Noah’s ark (fol. 9v), the shrub of Hagar and Ishmael (fol. 26v) Rebecca's water jar (and jewels ?;fol. 32v), Jacob’s ladder (fol. 39v), the city of Haran (fol. 44), storages for the food in Egypt (fol. 61v), a wheel (fol. 69v)  an ax (fol. 99) and shittim woods for the Tabernacle (fols. 117, 118).

  C. Decorated mid-book-sign in micrography: e.g. fols. 38v, 110v "Middle of the book" (חצי הספר), 155 "Middle of the Torah in words", 157 "… in letters" ((חצי התורה באותיות, 159v "… in verses" ((חצי התורה בפסוקים.     

D.  Decorated ascender and descender of letters:  The long flag of the letters Lamed in the Massorah parva text column ends in a shape of a spear (e.g. fols. 5, 54, 56, 273v, 290v) or written one inside the other resembling structures of musical notes (e.g. fols. 43v, 61v, 78, 89, 90v, 91, 100, 266) or diamond shapes (e.g. fol. 70v).            


II. Decorations by the main scribe A:

A.      Illustration for Rashi's commentary: Two maps of theLand ofIsrael in the lower margins (fols. 243v and 244v).

B.      Targumim and commentary shaped text:

Rashi’s commentary: surround the biblical text on three outer sides. In the outer margin the flow of the text column is interrupted at the center. Each part of the interrupted column ends in a triangular apex faces inward. Sometimes the commentary is written in geometrical forms such as a circle (e.g. fol. 4), triangles (e.g. fols. 132v, 133), and as a floral motif (e.g. fol. 6), arches (fol. 183), diamond and triangle (fol. 80) or in more elaborate geometrical designs (e.g. fols. 129v, 130). In one case the commentary is written in the lower margin in a row of triangles (fol. 349).

Targum Onkelos: is written in a narrow column in the inner margin of the biblical text.

Sefer ha-Gan commentary: is written mainly as two circles above and below the Targum Onkelos column. Sometimes it is written in a shape of a lozenge (e.g. fols. 49, 71v), half circle (e.g. fols. 76) or pair of circles (e.g. fols. 74v, 75), a mushroom (fol. 105, 147v) or in other various geometrical forms (e.g. fols. 292, 323).

C.      Decorated initial-word of book: the letters of the initials are surrounded by a wavy line in red ink creating a panel to the words (fols. Gen. - fol. 1v, Ex. - 77v, Lev. - 142, Num. - 185v, Deut. - 247v, Song of Songs - 363, Ruth - 368, Ecclesiastes - 378v, Esther - 389). Similar initial word is for the last pericope of the Pentateuch (fol. 300v).

D.     Decorated end of book: in geometrical design at the end of Genesis (fol. 77) and the entire book (fol. 401) and in an architectural structure at the end of the Pentateuch (fol. 302v).

E.     Decorated catchwords: surmounted by pen-drawn foliage (e.g. fols. 8v, 16v, 24v, 72v, 80v), triangle of dots

 (e.g. fols. 48v, 326v, 346v), a vertical line (e.g. fols. 32v, 112v, 160v, 168v, 226v, 234v, 266v, 274v) and an

 arch (fol. 318v). Two pen drawn face-hybrids decorate the catchword hayyim on fol.  8v.

F.      Pen drawn small monkey playing a ball is on fol. 181v.

G.     Decorated end-of-text: a pen floral motif issuing from חזק at the end of Targum Onkelos (fol. 77).

H.     Simple decoration at end of words in Rashi’s commentary and the Targum text mostly executed in dots

         of ink (e.g. fols. 6v, 28v, 59v, 175, 214, 286, 297, 310, 347v,355, 372v, 373).


III. Decorations by scribe C:

A small diagram of Jacob's and his women's tents in Sefer ha-Gan commentary (fol. 45, lower circle).

Suggested Reconsdivuction
Owner inscriptions: I. Fol. 362v, in the upper part of the page inscribed in semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in brown ink probably in 14th century hand: הלא זה מוצל מאש ביום האף והחמה ששפך השם באש חמתו על קהל הקדוש מלנמא דשטרון / כי כלם קדשו השם ית' טף ונשים ביום אחד בעונתינו הרבים בשנת קח לפרט ו' פרשה והעבירו/ תער על כל בשרם והובא אלי זה החומש בעיר איגש בשנת קט לפרט ז' פרשה שוב אשוב/ אליך ונשארתי רק אני לבדי כי הוזמנתי ונקרא נקראתי י' ימים קודם הגזרות לבא לפני/ אדונתינו המלכה העירה אבנון ושמה/ ישבתי ובכיתי במר נפשי השם ברחמיו יזכני לראות בנחמות יהודה/ וישראל ובבניין אריאל ויזכני להגות בו אני וזרעי/ עד עולם. "For this is a survivor of the fire on the day of fury and wrath which God raged down in his anger on the holy community of Melamna De'shatron [probably Sisteron on the river of Durance in Southern France], for they are all martyrs of the Lord, children and women in one day, in our many sins, in the year 5108 from the creation (1348), on Friday during the week when "and let them shave all their flesh" [Num. 8:7, of pericope Beha'alotcha] is read, and this Pentateuch was brought to me in the city of Igish [=Aix in Provence (see Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp.45-48)] in the year 5109 to the creation (1348), on Shabbat during the week when "I will certainly return unto thee" [Gen. 18:10, of pericope Vayera] is read, and only I alone remained since I was invited and summoned 10 days before the persecution to come to Avignon before our mistress the queen [Queen Jeanne (see Shalev-Eyni, Tripartite Mahzor, p. 28, n. 52)], and there I have sat and cried the bitterness of my soul. God in his mercy will allow me to see Jehuda and Israel comforted and in the rebuilding of Ariel, and will allow me to study it, me and my descendents after me till the end of days". This inscription was copied above by a later hand in a semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in dark brown ink. II. Fol. 1, at the upper most part of the page in the middle in semi-cursive script in dark brown ink: שלי אלעזר, "Mine Eliezer" III. Fol.1, in the upper part of the page in cursive script in dark brown ink: משה בכמה"ח (בן כבוד מורנו החכם) אברהם שדל? זצ"ל "Moshe ben Abraham…" (or Elazar Moshe ben Abraham, see also Hebrew Palaeography Project, No. ZJ 19). IV. Fol. 290, at the lower margin, mostly unreadable words: במ"ר ור"ה ? V. Fol. 401v, at the upper part of the page inscribed in semi-cursive Ashkenazi script ( identified under UV light): שלי זה החומש חמש מגלות עם (מחוק) ותרגום/ נאם משלם(?)(מחוק) ב"ר (מחוק) יעקב זצ"ל "This Pentateuch and Five scrolls, with [erased] and Targum, is mine Meshulam … son of … the late Jacob". Below this inscription are remnants of a long inscription, which can barely be deciphered even under UV light. Censors' erasure: Fol. 2v (3rd line from the bottom of the page) in Rashi’s commentary the word "heretics" (המינים) is erased. Two censors` signatures, at the end of the manuscript: Fol. 401, at the lower part of the page, Dominico Irosolomi[ta]no 1595. Fol. 400v, at the lower part of the page, Visto per me Gi[ovanni] Dominico Carretto 1618, “Seen by me, Gio[vanni] Domenico Carretto 1618”. These two signature appear also in another Hebrew manuscript ‘Ein Ya’akov by Jacob ben Solomon Ibn Habib (a compilation of the Agaddic material of the Babylonian Talmud), written in first half of the 16th century? in North Italy (Venice?), see ÖNB, Cod. Hebr. 190 (Schwarz, Catalogue, No. 78). The manuscript came to the ÖNB from the Old University Library (see notes of the University Library of Vienna on the first flyleaf - "No. 45" and on fol. 401v - "No. 5").
Main Surveys & Excavations
Beit-Arié, Hebrew Codicology M. Beit-Arié, Hebrew Codicology: tentative typology of technical practices employed in Hebrew dated medieval manuscripts, Jerusalem 1981. Delano-Smith and Gruber, Rashi's Legacy C. Delano-Smith and M. I. Gruber, "Rashi's Legacy: maps of the Holy Land", The Map Collector, no. 59, England Summer 1992, pp. 30-35. Gross, Gallia Judaica H. Gross, Gallia Judaica :dictionnaire geographique de la France d’apres les sources rabbiniques, Amsterdam 1969. Hebrew Palaeography Project Hebrew Palaeography Project in Jerusalem, ZJ 19. Narkiss, Albenc Pentateuch B. Narkiss, "The Seal of Solomon the Scribe: the Illustrations of the Albenc Pentateuch of 1340", Between Judaism and Christianity. Art Historical Essays in Honor of Elisheva (Elisabeth) Revel-Neher. eds. K. Kogman-Appel and M. Meyer, Leiden Boston, 2009, pp. 319-351. Narkiss, HIM B. Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, Jerusalem, New York 1969. Narkiss, Rashi U'mapotav ב. נרקיס, "רש"י ומפותיו", ספר זאב וילנאי (עורך: אלי שילר), ירושלים 1984, עמ' 435-439. Orlian, Sefer ha-Gan, J. M. Orlian, Sefer haGan.Aaron ben Joseph ben Aaron ha-Kohen; text and analysis of the biblical commentary. 'An authorized facsimile' of the editor’s thesis (Ph.D.), Yeshiva University,1973. Sed-Rajna, Les Manuscrits Hebreux G. Sed-Rajna, Les Manuscrits Hebreux Enlumines Des Bibliotheques De France, Leuven-Paris 1994. Shalev-Eyni, Tripartite Mahzor S. Shalev-Eyni, The Tripartite Mahzor, Ph.D. Dissertation, Jerusalem, 2001 (Hebrew). Schwarz Catalogue A. Z. Schwarz, Die hebraeischen Handschriften der Nationalbibliothek in Wien, Vienna, 1925, No. 19. Further bibliography S. Aesh, "Parshiyut ve Haftarot", Tarbiz - A Quarterly for Jewish Studies 26, No. 2 (1956), pp. 209-213 (Hebrew). J. G. C., Adler, Kurze Übersicht seiner biblischkritischen Reise nach Rom, Altona 1783, pp. 5-6. Buchkunst des Morgenlandes. F. Unterkircher (ed.), Ausstellung in der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek in Wien, Wien 1953, No. 29. Die Schönsten Handschriften der ehemaligen Hofbibliothek. Ausstellung in der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek in Wien, Wien 1965, 7, No, 31. S. Deutsch, Die hebräischen Manusckripte der k.k. Hofbibliothek zu Wien. Österreichische Blätter für Literatur und Kunst 63 (1846), p. 150. K. Eigel (ed.), Die klassischen Gadichte der Weltliteratur. Salzburg-Stuttgart 1966, Tafel nach S. 80. C. D. Ginsburg, Introduction of the Massaretico-Critical edition of the Hebrew Bible, London 1897, pp. 200-201 (mentioned as Cod. No. 13).‎ H. Gratz, Von Maimunis Tod (1205) bis zur Verbannung der Juden aus Spanien und Portugal 1 (Geschichte der Juden 7), Leipzig 1874, p. 332, note 1; p. 359. H.J. Hermann, Die westeuropäischen Handschriften und Inkunablen der Gotik und der Renaissance mit Ausnahme der Niederländischen Handschriften. Bd. 2, Englische und französische Handschriften des XIV. Jahrhunderts (Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der illuminierten Handschriften in Österreich N.F. 7,2), Leipzig 1936, pp. 177-179. Katalog der Miniaturenausstellung der k.k. Hofbibliothek. Ausstellung in Wien, Wien 1902. 58 (Nr. 361). (mentioned). B. Kennicott, Dissertatio generalis in vetus testamentum hebraicum cum variis lectionibus ex codicibus manuscriptis et impressis, Oxford 1780, p. 106 (Cod. 594). B. Kennicott, Dissertatio generalis in vetus testamentum hebraicum cum variis lectionibus ex codicibus manuscriptis et impressis (recudi curavit et notas adiecit P. I. Bruns), Brünn 1783, p. 517 (Cod. 594). A. Kraft & S. Deutsch, Die handscriftlischen hebräischen Werke der k. k. Hofbibliothek zu Wien, Wien 1847, pp. 17-19 (No. 13), 26 (No. XXV-4), 27 (No. XXVI-3), 28 (No. XXVII), 29 (No. XXVIII-2, XXIX), 32 (No. XXX-2), 35-37 (No. XXXII), Pl, II. Z, Schwarz, Miszellen. Zeitschrift fur hebraische Bibliographie XV (1911), p. 188. F. Unterkircher, Die Buchmalerei. Entwicklung, Technik, Eigenart, Wien München 1974,p. 92. W. Wünsche and M. Neumann, ed. Altschüler, Aramaia. Die Targimim zum Pentateuch. 1. Abteilung: Onkelos (Monumenta Judaica 1. Bibliotheca Targumica) Wien/Leipzig 1906, Pl. after p. 62.
Michal Sternthal Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 11.7.01, 2009 15.3.03
Author of description
Michal Sternthal Estherlee Kanon Yaffa Levy | 2003, 2008 2008 2009
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal | 2009
Language Editor
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