9.30.2008

Wanted: Missing Pages of Aleppo Codex

This has been getting press coverage on and off for a while, but it's always worth reminding people ... if you're Jewish, and your family was in Syria after the war, and you find an old page or two at home, well it could be very important if it turns out to be a missing page of the Aleppo Codex.
The Codex, on 491 parchment pages about 12 inches by 10 inches, was transcribed sometime around 930 A.D. by Shlomo Ben Boya'a, a scribe in Tiberias on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. It was edited by a renowned scholar of the time, Aaron Ben-Asher. Its completion marked the end of a centuries-long process that created the final text of the Hebrew Bible.
It belonged to a Jewish community in Jerusalem until it was seized by the Crusaders who captured and sacked the city in 1099. Ransomed, it made its way to Cairo, where it was used by the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, who declared it the most accurate copy of the Old Testament.

The short version of the story is that in 1947 there was anti-Jewish looting in Syria, and as a result the Aleppo Codex was broken up. Much of it reached Israel in 1958 - though 40% or some 196 pages were missing at the time. Two pages have since been found, but this is a book of great importance in terms of Jewish history and religion, so every once in a while there is an appeal made to try to find some of those missing pages.
"If there is a possibility, as the rumors say, that there are not only small fragments but also entire sections, that is extremely exciting," said Adolfo Roitman, the Israel Museum curator in charge of the manuscript. "We're missing entire books — most of the five Books of Moses, except for a few pages, and we have no Book of Esther, no Book of Daniel."

It's the New Year, and some good news would get it off to a good start.

Scholars hunt missing pages of ancient Bible - AP
Aleppo Codex site here.

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