Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review of new book on the Aleppo Codex

A NEW BOOK ON THE ALEPPO CODEX is reviewed in The Forward:
Wonder of Wonders
An Ancient Book’s Tale
By Tamar Yellin
Published May 19, 2010, issue of May 28, 2010.

There is something profoundly alluring about the manuscripts of great literary works. Whether the handwritten fair copy of “Ode to a Nightingale” or a stray page of Shakespeare, Kafka’s diary or the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, we are drawn to manuscripts as talismanic objects, revealers of secrets, at once precious and terribly fragile. They bear both a human and a miraculous imprint. In a secular age, such items can bring one closer to an understanding of the term “holy.”

How much more so when the work in question is a holy book. The idea of discovering the original manuscript of the Bible — even supposing such a thing ever existed — is an impossible fantasy, but the aura surrounding the Aleppo Codex has something of the same power. Completed around 930 C.E., the codex was, until the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest-known handwritten copy of the Hebrew Scriptures in existence. In their succinct exposition of the book’s history, “Crown of Aleppo,” Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schneider also make the case for its being the most authoritative.

There's also a nice photo of one of the leaves of the codex.

More on the Aleppo Codex here.