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The De Castro Pentateuch

The De Castro Pentateuch

The De Castro Pentateuch

With Haftarot (portions from the Prophets) and Five Scrolls

Handwritten on parchment; dark brown and red ink, tempera, silver leaf; square and semi-cursive Ashkenazic script

L: 46; W: 31 cm

Acquired on the advice of Joseph and Caroline Gruss and with the assistance of Friends of the Israel Museum

Accession number:



Jewish Art and Life

Commissioned by Joseph ben Ephraim for private use and public reading in the synagogue, this manuscript contains the Aramaic translation Targum Onkelos, as well as a hitherto-unknown version of the commentary of Rashi (Solomon ben Isaac, 1040-1105). The opening of each of the Five Books of Moses (Pentateuch) and the Five Scrolls is decorated with a large initial word and sometimes with an illustration, such as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden for Genesis. A full-page depiction of the hanging of Haman and his sons closes the book of Esther.