The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Biblical Texts in the Judaica Collection at the V. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine

Dr Alex Khamray

As we are aware, the Collection contains up to a hundred manuscripts of various origins with the biblical text in the original languages (Hebrew and Aramaic) as well as translations of biblical texts, commentaries and interpretations of these texts.

As of today, in the Collection 321 of the Judaica Department there are 32 manuscripts containing the original biblical text in Hebrew. These manuscripts can be divided into two categories.

The first one includes fragments of Torah scrolls and some other texts used in the religious practice of Judaism, including mezuzahs, which contain, according to Jewish tradition, the text of two of the three parts of the Shma prayer (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 and 11:13-21). also scrolls, which reflect the text of the Book of Esther.

There is not a single complete Torah scroll in the collection. The largest of the available scrolls bears the text of the Pentateuch from Deuteronomy 1:2 to the end of the Pentateuch. It is worth mentioning that this scroll has no ritual value due to its physical condition and incompleteness.

The second category includes biblical manuscripts in the form of codices drawn according to the Masoretic tradition. These include several complete texts (both the Pentateuch as a whole and individual Bible books) and their fragments not all of which are part of the Pentateuch, including the book of Joshua, parts of the books of Isaiah and Samuel, etc. Most of these documents, like the Torah scrolls, are fragments of one or two sheets. An example of the full text is the handwritten codex of the Pentateuch (Document No 863 of Inventory 5).