Hebrew Bible from Persia

The scribe who copied out this Hebrew Bible in 15th-century Persia gave his name as Jacob. In a long statement (called a ‘colophon’), Jacob tells us that he finished the manuscript in Kashan in 1806 according to the calendar of deeds (the Seleucid era) – 1495 CE. This is the earliest reference to a Jewish community in the town of Kashan. Jacob finished the copying in the ‘house of study’ of the ‘great and knowledgeable’ Rabbi Samuel ha-Levi Israel. Like many Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, Jacob signed his name listing his forefathers several generations back. 

Hebrew Bible

Kashan (today in Iran), 1495
Gaster Hebrew MS 86
Folio 291a from Gaster Hebrew 86,  featuring  a long colophon.

Folio 291a

Long colophon by the scribe Jacob son of Obadiah son of Joseph son of Ezrah. He lists the many qualities of Rabbi Samuel ha-Levi while describing himself in humble terms: 

“This book of the 11 Writings was finished by the help of the Almighty, who resides between the cherubim, on Tuesday, which is the first day of month Tamuz in 1806 according to the calendar of deeds (shetarot) [=2 July 1495 CE] in the town of Kashan … in the house of study of … … Rabbi Samuel Halevi Israel by the hands of the insignificant, the poor, the dust of the feet of all the disciples, Jacob ben …Obadiah ben … Joseph … ben … Ezrah …” 

נשלם זה ספר א"י כתובים בעזרת שדי שוכן בין כרובים בתלאתה בשבא דהוא יום חד לירח תמוז בשנת אתת"ו לשטרות במאתא דכאשאן ... בבית מדרשו  של ...ר׳ שמואל הלוי ... על יד הצעיר העני עפר רגלי כל זרע ישורון מתלמידיו יעקב בן החסיד עובדיה בן הצדיק המרוחם מר' העניו יוסף בן עזרה