Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Search for the Aleppo Codex Continues...

I thought it was well-known that some scholars were looking for the missing pages of the Aleppo Codex, but now the mainstream media has decided to do a story on it.

The Aleppo Codex is important because it's probably the best exemplar we have of a carefully done Masoretic manuscript where the textual notations and the consonantal text align well. It was ascribed to Aaron ben Asher whose notation system eventually came to be considered the most accurate and most authoritative. The next best complete Masoretic manuscript that we have is the Leningrad Codex which clearly bears the masoretic notes of a different manuscript. That is, the notations don't line up with the consonantal text in areas like word count, etc.

So if the Aleppo Codex were complete, we would have a better manuscript to use as a base text for all text editions of the Hebrew Bible. Currently, most critical editions of the Hebrew Bible are diplomatic editions based on the Leningrad Codex.

The search for the Aleppo Codex is important and the story that appeared yesterday via the Associated Press gives a good overview of what's being done.

Scholars hunt missing pages of ancient Bible

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Sat Sep 27, 2:19 PM ET

JERUSALEM - A quest is under way on four continents to find the missing
pages of one of the world's most important holy texts, the
1,000-year-old Hebrew Bible known as the Crown of Aleppo.

Crusaders held it for ransom, fire almost destroyed it and it was
reputedly smuggled across Mideast borders hidden in a washing machine.
But in 1958, when it finally reached Israel, 196 pages were missing — about 40 percent of the total — and for some Old Testament scholars they have become a kind of holy grail.

Researchers representing the manuscript's custodian in Jerusalem now say they have leads on some of the missing pages and are nearer their goal of making the manuscript whole again.

The Crown, known in English as the Aleppo Codex, may not be as famous as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
But to many scholars it is even more important, because it is
considered the definitive edition of the Bible for Jewry worldwide. [More]

HT: Jason Gile, Jim Davila

1 comment:

  1. For those interested in learning more about the Aleppo Codex, be sure to check out