Date: 1000 AD
Page #: 466
The Damascus Pentateuch, from around the year 1000, is one of the oldest extant Hebrew biblical manuscripts. It includes full vocalization, accentuation, and Masoretic annotation. The manuscript is defective in its beginning, as it starts with Genesis 9:26; Exodus 18:1–23 is also missing. Written on parchment in oriental square script, the text is in three columns per page, 20 lines per column. The manuscript belonged to the Jewish community of Damascus (hence its name) until 1915, when it was acquired by the collector and bibliophile D.S. Sassoon. In 1975 it was acquired by the Jewish National and University Library (what later became the National Library of Israel). Pentateuch is a term for the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Masoretic annotations are the collection of critical notes, compiled in the 7th–10th centuries by Jewish scribes and scholars known as the Masoretes and accepted as the authoritative regulator of the written and vocalized transmission of the Hebrew Bible.