Ashkar-Gilson Manuscript, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

IN A NEW LIGHT. In normal light, the Ashkar-Gilson Manuscript is difficult to read, but in the infrared photograph (shown here), its writing becomes more legible. The consonantal text found in the Ashkar-Gilson and London Manuscripts conforms exactly to the Masoretic text in the authoritative codices from the ninth and tenth centuries. This demonstrates that the Masoretes had a standardized text of the Hebrew Bible from several centuries earlier than the Aleppo and Leningrad Codices.

Look closely: In the infrared lighting, horizontal and vertical lines appear; Jewish scribes made these lines to ensure that their writing was level and that they stayed within the margins.