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A dating system for Hebrew manuscripts using codicological data

 Fill in the codicological information in your possession for the codicological unit.

*In order to perform dating, data in at least 6 categories is required. The accuracy of the prediction depends on the amount of data.

How to Identify


Feature Name


Look for letters containing other letters inside them or embracing each other.

One letter written on or within another, for decoration or space-saving.

Search for familiar Bible texts, chapters, verses, and typical layout/design.

Manuscripts focused on texts from the Bible.

Identify content as part of the Bible, including specific verses, chapters, and references to books.

Text documented in the manuscript originating from the Bible.

Look for theoretical discussions or texts on numerology, Kabbalistic aphorisms, or philosophical principles.

Manuscripts including philosophical discussions or Kabbalistic texts.

Identify halachic principles or interpretations of biblical stories in the text.

Texts dedicated to Halacha (Jewish law) and Midrash, including religious discussions and interpretations of the Torah.

Identify texts containing blessings, prayers, and texts associated with specific religious holidays and events.

Manuscripts including daily prayers or cycles for holidays.

Examine pages under different lighting and look for a particularly shiny area that reflects light.

Pages treated to give them a shiny and glossy appearance.

Examine text alignment and look for techniques like ruler use to create uniform lines.

Methods for aligning lines and preventing deviation from margins.

Page will appear uniform and without any hidden marks.

Absence of watermarks, visible when checking the page against strong light.

Check paper for lines as external lines or thin perforations.

Paper with printed or perforated lines for writing alignment.

Check text direction and page texture; hair side is slightly more exposed and rougher.

Manuscripts where the contrast starts from the hair side of the parchment (outer side of the skin).

Use strong light or magnifying equipment to detect grooves or fine lines embedded in the page.

Bars made in a way that is not visible to the eye, likely due to the paper-making process.

Parchment is thicker, rougher; paper is thinner, may have textures/watermarks.

Text written on parchment (animal skin) or paper.

Examine page texture; flesh side is smoother and flatter than the hair side.

Text appearing on the flesh side of the parchment sheet (inner side of the skin).

Lines are visible in color or as perforations.

Lines created on the page to assist text alignment.

Thicker, stronger than paper, with different textures and colors.

Writing material made from animal skin.

Check page texture against light; individual fasteners appear as thin, non-regular lines.

Thin lines on paper from the production process, appearing scattered.

Check page against light; bars in groups of three will be clear and discernible.

Bars created in the paper-making process, appearing in groups of three.

Examine pages for appearance of two separate layers, with visible splitting or separation.

Pages or parchments split into two layers during use or preservation processes.

Identify ink color; brown is lighter, black is sharper.

Text written in brown or black ink.

Compare ink shade to other familiar ink colors.

Text written in dark brown or brown ink.

Look for deep black ink, bold and prominent on the page.

Text written in black ink, a common and durable type.

Check page headers for recurring titles and contrast centers for symbols.

Title at the top and symbol in the center for organization.

Check page bottoms for slanted text or symbols.

Slanted text or symbol at the bottom for easy page transitions.

Look for key symbols, page tags, chapter/section headings.

Various methods for preserving the order of texts in the codex.

Look for markers or tags at the bottom or sides of the page.

Symbol identifying the sequence of folios in the codex.

Hold page against strong light; watermarks appear as patterns or symbols.

Patterns created on paper during production, visible against strong light.

Check page tops for markers or numbers.

Numbers or symbols at the top for efficient navigation.

Check page bottoms or edges for markers, tags, or inscriptions indicating folio number or location.

Symbols used to preserve the order of folios in the codex.

Examine text alignment and look for spacing or compression techniques within lines.

Spacing and compressing letters to maintain line alignment and consistency.

Check for graphic symbols filling empty space at the end of lines in the text.

Techniques like lines, dots, or commas used to fill empty space at the end of a line.

Examine word beginnings for signs not part of the word.

Next word starting with a special sign (period, comma).

Look at text lines and check if text fills the line evenly, without unnecessary spaces or excessive compression.

Author's management of spacing between words to prevent deviation or visual discontinuity.

Examine text for techniques like reducing letters or moving words to the next line.

Author's management of space in the line, including adjusting letter size or leaving spaces to prevent deviation.

Compare lines on the page; uniform alignment indicates ruler use.

Arrangement of lines, aligned or deviating from margins.

Check for brackets at equal distances on page edges.

Brackets used to stretch lines to the page width.

Look for clear, incised lines appearing as if made with a sharp tool.

Engraving technique using a sharp tool to create lines on parchment/paper before writing.

Identify symmetrical or identical engravings on two adjacent pages.

Scribe engraving lines on two adjacent pages simultaneously for consistent and precise patterns.

Check text layout and see if text is mainly on the right side of the open page.

Text primarily or exclusively on the right side of the page when the manuscript is open.

Check page under strong light or by touch for prominent lines or grooves created by an engraving tool.

Technique using a sharp tool to engrave lines or decorations on the sheet before writing.

Examine handwriting and page clarity.

Each folio (page) opening recto, like a large book page.

Look for boxes with decorations, different ink, or special fonts.

Graphic elements emphasizing new chapters or sections.

Look for small artworks or decorations around text or page edges.

Graphic elements like drawings, flowers, frames enhancing text clarity.

Examine pages for the absence of any paintings, ornate frames, or other embellishments.

Manuscripts without any graphic or artistic decorations.

Look for notes or comments outside the main text frame in the bottom margin.

Annotations, comments, or requests recorded in the bottom margin.

Look for ornate frames or large, different fonts at chapter/article beginnings.

Decorations or graphic frames emphasizing chapter/section beginnings.

Look for markers like catchwords at page bottoms, folio/page alignment, and systematic page/folio counting.

Methods for preserving the correct order of pages or folios in a codex.

Examine manuscript measurements and design details.

Structure and format of the manuscript, including size, text arrangement, and lines/pages per contrast.

Check the last line on each page for deviations.

Bottom line not within the frame, extending beyond or misaligned.


Text written in Arabic, based on script and language characteristics.





Hello, the system is under construction. 
In the future, information about the data will be added and the user experience will be improved
API access will also be provided for external connection of systems.

The system was trained using data from the Sparda website and the research of Prof. Malachi Beit-Arie and Prof. Colt Sirat.

The site was built  By Alexander Golberg as part of a master's thesis in information sciences, Bar Ilan.

Guided by: Dr. Gila Priber and Dr. Avshalom Elmaleh

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