"Damascus Keter". Bible with Vocalization, Accents, Masorah Magna and Masorah Parva.
Manuscript. Burgos, Spain, 1260. Parchment. 428 folios. 305x270 mm. Sefardi square script. Three columns per page (Proverbs, Job and Psalms in two columns)
Colophon (426v): "I, Menahem, son of Abraham ibn Malek ... wrote these twenty four [books] for ... Isaac, son of ... Abraham ... Haddad, and completed them on Monday, the 17th day of the month of Adar in the year 5020 in Burgos ... .
The Masorah Magna is written on each page in delicate micrographic ornamentations. The text of the Masorah at the opening and closing sections of the volume, as well as at the pages between the three divisions of the Bible (Pentateuch, Prophets and Hagiographa) are also written in micrography in the form of colored "carpet" pages, the contours of which for a combination of floral motifs and geometric forms.
The books of the Pentateuch and the Prophets are arranged in the conventional order which was adopted by later printed editions. The Hagiographa deviates from the conventional order, and from that given in the Tractate Bava Bathra (14b), and its arrangement is: Chronicles, Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, The Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah.
The beginnings of sedaqrim [portions] and parashiyyot are ornamented in gold and other colors, some of them serving as illustrations of the text.
At an unknown date the manuscript reached Damascus, which explains its appelation "The Damascus Keter" (it was customary in the East to call an ornate codex of the Bible a "Keter" [Crown]". There it was kept in the synagogue of Hushbasha Al'anabi, where it was viewed by Alexander E. Harkavy in 1886 and by Avinoam Yellin in 1919. According to Yellin's report, the manuscript contained 429 leaves. And indeed, one 'carpet' leaf originally from the end of the manuscript was auctioned in 198t at Sotheby's in London, and is now in the Museo Sefaradi of Toledo.
The manuscript, without that single leaf, was auctioned at Sotheby's in 1962 and in that year was acquired for the Library through the generosity of the America-Israel Cultural Fund and Mr. N.Z. Williams of Jerusalem.