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Judaism The Tanakh (The Xanten Bible)

Hebrew Bible.  Joseph ben Kalonymus, scribe.  Xanten, Lower Rhineland, 5054 AM (1294 CE).  NYPL, Spencer Collection.

This monumental manuscript of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) includes in its first volume the Torah (the five books of Moses) and Ketuvim (Writings), comprising the books of Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Esther, Ruth, and Lamentations.

The minuscule writing that appears above and below the three columns of the biblical text, as well as the inter-columnar insertions, form the masorah (literally, tradition), a collection of critical and explanatory notes that were compiled between the seventh and tenth centuries CE. Their main purpose was to ensure the accurate transmission of the biblical text, particularly its pronunciation and grammar.

View more images from the Xanten Bible in the Library's Digital Gallery.