: ink on parchment; 313 leaves (17.1 x 11.9 cm.); text in two columns, with intercolumnar Masorah with unrelated text above and below; Sephardi square Hebrew characters
John C. Curtis
This Bible, with colored initials beautifully illuminated with gold, begins with the book of Isaiah. It is the second part of a Bible manuscript now in the University of Cambridge Library (Ms. Schiller-Szinessy 14). How the two parts became separated is unknown, though it seems to have happened some time in the 19th century. Part of the Masorah to the Bible is written between the columns of text. However, what appears to be Masorah above and below the text turns out to be the Hebrew version of Maimonides’ Moreh Nevukhim (Guide for the Perplexed; Book II, ch. 17-Book III, ch.53). While unusual to have two unrelated texts co-occupy a single manuscript, it is not unheard of. What makes this striking is the fact that it looks precisely how one would expect the Masorah to look, in size and placement.