Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts


The Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts, located in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a repository of ancient manuscripts, of historical documents and of the private archives by eminent public figures. One of the most significant manuscripts kept in the museum is the Lailashi Bible, which was found in Lailashi village by Giorgi Tsereteli. The manuscript was brought to Georgia in the 1940s and was kept in the Museum of History of Jews until 1951. Since 1957 the manuscript has been kept in the Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts. The Lailashi Bible represents a handwritten version of Torah, accompanied with comments and colorful geometrical decorative figures. It’s also unique due to the fact that it had Jewish inscriptions and some of the geometrical decorations are colorful. The manuscript is written on parchment and is an old testament with masoretic text, which tells us a story of the first humans, the first sin and its consequences, the despature from heaven and the multiplication of humankind, but the Lailashi Bible is considered unexplored due to an assumption that it lacks sixteen pages. A paleographic analysis of the manuscript makes it possible to suggest that it belongs to the X-XI centuries. The manuscript weighs 10 Kilos. There are very few Torahs, around the world, that are made in such a way, mostly Torah is written on a scroll, while the Lailashi bible is a book, which makes it very rare for this period. The book is broken up at the moment, it is bound and doesn’t have a cover, since it needs restoration. The Lailashi bible has always been the center of attention, even criminals were interested in it and attempted to steal it in the 90s. The guard of The Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts was offered 50,000 dollars for the manuscript, but the guard did not give in.