Medieval Ashkenazic Torah Scroll

Medieval Ashkenazic Torah Scroll


Collection ID

SCR.004820

Type

Scroll

Date

ca. 1250

Geography

Germany

Language

Hebrew

Medium

Ink on parchment

Dimensions

158 × 23 in. (401.3 × 58.4 cm)

Exhibit Location

On view in The History of the Bible Floor, Translating the Bible


This beautiful scroll is one of the oldest, most complete Torah scrolls from the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition of central Europe. Its early medieval Ashkenazi origin is visible both in the ancient sewing technique used to attach the parchments and in its writing style. During later periods, portions of the script and layout were edited to adhere more closely to the teachings of Maimonides. These revisions are particularly noticeable in the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:1–18), though fortunately the original layout is still discernable.

Created around 1250 in Germany.[1] Acquired by an unknown synagogue outside of Europe;[2] Purchased before 2015 by an anonymous collector;[2] Purchased at auction in 2015 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;[2][3] Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Because of the regulations for writing the Torah, there is no scribal colophon or date of creation. Scholars extensively studied the paleography and construction of the scroll to determine both its date and origin. Radiocarbon dating has also been conducted on the scroll, showing a date of creation between 1245–1292 CE, which corroborates scholars’ assessment. [2] There is no history of ownership until it was sold at auction in 2015 to the Green Collection. However, Museum of the Bible ascertained through private communication with an expert on Torah scrolls on December 7, 2017, that the scroll was purchased by a private collector from a synagogue outside of Europe prior to its sale at Sotheby’s. The expert would not share the name of the synagogue, and they have requested to remain anonymous. [3] Important Judaica Auction, Sotheby’s New York, 22 December 2015, Lot 1.

Description

This beautiful scroll is one of the oldest, most complete Torah scrolls from the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition of central Europe. Its early medieval Ashkenazi origin is visible both in the ancient sewing technique used to attach the parchments and in its writing style. During later periods, portions of the script and layout were edited to adhere more closely to the teachings of Maimonides. These revisions are particularly noticeable in the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:1–18), though fortunately the original layout is still discernable.


Provenance

Created around 1250 in Germany.[1] Acquired by an unknown synagogue outside of Europe;[2] Purchased before 2015 by an anonymous collector;[2] Purchased at auction in 2015 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;[2][3] Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Because of the regulations for writing the Torah, there is no scribal colophon or date of creation. Scholars extensively studied the paleography and construction of the scroll to determine both its date and origin. Radiocarbon dating has also been conducted on the scroll, showing a date of creation between 1245–1292 CE, which corroborates scholars’ assessment. [2] There is no history of ownership until it was sold at auction in 2015 to the Green Collection. However, Museum of the Bible ascertained through private communication with an expert on Torah scrolls on December 7, 2017, that the scroll was purchased by a private collector from a synagogue outside of Europe prior to its sale at Sotheby’s. The expert would not share the name of the synagogue, and they have requested to remain anonymous. [3] Important Judaica Auction, Sotheby’s New York, 22 December 2015, Lot 1.


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