Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Aleppo Codex registered by UNESCO

MANUSCRIPT: Oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew Bible recognized in International Memory of the World Register (i24 News).
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday officially added the Aleppo Codex, believed to be the world’s oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew Bible, to its International Memory of the World Register.

According to Dr. Adolfo Roitman, the head curator of the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem, where the Codex now resides, all current versions of the Old Testament stem, “in one way or another, from this ancient manuscript.”

It was written in the town of Tiberias, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in or around 930 CE, and then moved to Jerusalem, from where it was stolen when the Crusaders sacked the city in 1099.

It was later ransomed by the Jews of Cairo, and brought to that city.

But the Codex is significant not only for what it contains, but also for what it doesn’t. Some 190 pages of priceless text – around 40% of the total - are missing. These include four out of five books of the Pentateuch - the first section of books in the Bible also called the Five Books of Moses - as well as five books from the last section - Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel and Ezra.

The oldest complete Hebrew Bible is the Leningrad Codex (on which see here and here). The oldest fragmentary manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible are among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Aleppo Codex is the oldest more-complete-than-not Hebrew Bible. For many, many past posts on the Aleppo Codex, see here and links or run the term through the search engine. This recognition by UNESCO is good news.