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Bible, Yemen

Manuscript. Paper. Sana, Yemen, 1485. 211 pages, 365x305mm. Yemenite square script, two columns.

Pentateuch with vocalization and accentuation, Masorah Magna, Masorah Parva and  and Haftarot for the entire year. The Masorah Gedolah is written in micrography that forms the outlines of geometric forms. Presented in a velvet covered box with silver and copper decorations.

The Pentateuch was copied by R. David Ben Benaya, who came from a famous family of scribes in Sana, Yemen. In Yemenite tradition the bible is referred to as Taj (the crown) and often begins with a Masoretic text known as Tijan, which includes the foundations of Hebrew grammar, the accents and the Masorah.

In addition to the five books of the Pentateuch and the haftarah portions for the entire years, the manuscript features the Targum Jonathan. This translation into Aramaic is one of several with origins in ancient Palestine. It is written in Galilean Aramaic associated with the Jews of Palestine in the first centuries of the Common Era. Targum Jonathan is unique in that it incorporates homiletic (midrashic) traditions in addition to translating the biblical text.

This manuscript was bought and sold several times, until it was purchased in 1910 by Suleiman Hibshush who wrote: "Blessed is the Lord who helped me and allowed me to purchase this Yemenite Torah, crown…". Suleiman's son, Said, added a note on the occasion of his father's death in 1920. The manuscript was donated to the National Library by Ezra Hibshush and the Hibshush family.

 

Bible, Yemen