Hebrew Bible


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14

Jews in medieval Spain referred to the Bible as the Sanctuary of God, a sacred surrogate for the lost—and longed-for—Temple of Jerusalem. As a result, Hebrew Bibles came to be splendidly adorned, in a manner worthy of that holiest of places. This manuscript comprises the full text of the Bible, with complete vocalization, accentuation, and critical apparatus (or masoreh), with the most impressive decoration marking the beginning and end of each book and four special biblical songs. Decorative elements found in both Islamic and Christian manuscripts have been embraced, clear evidence of shared artistic taste that transcended cultural and religious prejudices.

The manuscript bears the signature of an early owner, David ha-Kohen Coutinh[o], who penned his name in its pages on Rosh Hashanah, 1366.

Hebrew Bible, Ink, tempera, and gold on parchment; leather binding, Spanish

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Opening - folios VIIv/VIIIr