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Samaritan Bible
Additional title: Bible. Pentateuch. Hebrew. 1232
Additional title: Samaritan Pentateuch
Abraham ben Israel ha-Nasi, King of Israel (Scribe)
Scott Watson, W., Jr. (Former owner)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1232 (Inferred)
Place: Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Jamnia?)
Library locations
Dorot Jewish Division
Shelf locator: **P (Ms. Heb. 228)
Manuscripts, Samaritan
Manuscripts, Hebrew
Biographical/historical: The scribe, Abraham ben Israel ha-Nasi, was probably the head of the Samaritan community in the land of Israel recognized by the Crusaders, just as the head of the Rabbanite community in the land of Israel, as recognized by the Roman Empire in late antiquity, was designated "nasi."The Samaritans were the only religious minority in the world at the time with rights that any Christian authority recognized, in honor, no doubt, of the fictional Good Samaritan of Jesus's parable. By the time this manuscript was written, however, Crusader fortunes were on the wane. Beaten back to the coastal strip and the cities of Acre, Jaffa, and Ascalon, the Samaritans' center at Nablus was back in Muslim hands, with Jerusalem itself only just recovered from the Saracens in 1229. Abraham ben Israel's son lived in Jamnia, and there is a good chance, therefore, that the "King of Israel" did so too. Ironically, this obscure village was also the seat of the Romans' Rabbanite nasi, the traditional birthplace of Rabbinic Judaism known in Hebrew as Yavneh.
Citation/reference: Described by W. Scott Watson, "A critical copy of the Samaritan Pentateuch written in AD 1232" in Hebraica 9 (1892-3), p. 216-225 and Hebraica 10, p. 122-158. See also B.Z. Kedar in The Samaritans (Alan Crown, ed.), Tübingen, 1989, and Richard Gottheil in American journal of Semitic languages and literature 18, p. 190. Described as Codex F in August Freiherrn von Gall, Der Hebräische Pentateuch der Samaritaner, vol. 1, p. xxxiii-xxxv, Giessen, 1914.
Acquisition: Purchased by the Lenox Library from W. Scott Watson in 1895. Formerly Manuscripts and Archives Division Hebrew-Samaritan Ms. 1.
Content: Exhibition identifier TL 24.01.013 associated with one spread.
Physical Description
Extent: 549 p. ; 31 cm.
Manuscript on vellum, with Samaritan (Paleo-Hebrew) script and Islamic-style leather binding. Highly authoritative manuscript of the Samaritan Bible. A comparable manuscript in the Vatican, dated 1227, lacks most of the book of Genesis. Exodus 16 features a "tashkil" (colophon, or, statement of responsibility), written vertically, in characteristic Samaritan manner, one letter on top of the other, to avoid possible confusion with the biblical text proper. It reads: Mikhtav Avraham Nesiah (the writing of Abraham the Nasi, i.e., president, patriarch, prince, or member of the royal family). A second colophon further on in the manuscript is also written vertically and extends over several pages of Deuteronomy: "I, Abraham son of Israel son of Ephraim son of Joseph the Nasi, King of Israel (Melekh Yisrael), wrote this copy of the Holy Torah myself for my children in the 629th year of the Islamic ascendancy, corresponding to the 3,200th year of Israelite settlement in the land of Canaan, anno mundi 5993. It is the 74th Torah that I have written and I am now sixty years old. I give thanks to the Lord and entreat him to prolong the life of my children and grandchildren that they may study from it. Amen, amen, amen."
Type of Resource
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b16307591
NYPL Exhibition ID: TL 24.01.013
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 11c25470-6052-013a-7da7-0242ac110003
Rights Statement
The New York Public Library believes that this item is in the public domain under the laws of the United States, but did not make a determination as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. This item may not be in the public domain under the laws of other countries. Though not required, if you want to credit us as the source, please use the following statement, "From The New York Public Library," and provide a link back to the item on our Digital Collections site. Doing so helps us track how our collection is used and helps justify freely releasing even more content in the future.

Item timeline of events

  • 1232: Issued
  • 2022: Digitized
  • 2024: Found by you!
  • 2025

MLA Format

Dorot Jewish Division, The New York Public Library. "Samaritan Bible" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1232.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Dorot Jewish Division, The New York Public Library. "Samaritan Bible" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 2, 2024.

APA Format

Dorot Jewish Division, The New York Public Library. (1232). Samaritan Bible Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (text) Samaritan Bible, (1232) |author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=March 2, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Samaritan Bible