The Aleppo Codex is the most important surviving manuscript of the Bible that includes vocalization (nikud), accents (te’amim), and the Masorah (the traditional annotation to the biblical text). As its name signifies, it is a bound volume of vellum leaves with writing on both sides. The importance of this manuscript, probably written in Tiberias more than a thousand years ago, lies first and foremost in the fact that it is the oldest existing manuscript Bible and also the most exact. It was written by the scribe Shlomo Ben Buya’a, while the vocalization and accents were added by the greatest of masoretes, Aharon Ben Asher. The Codex was apparently brought from Jerusalem to Cairo, where it was consulted by Maimonides when he compiled the halakhic rules governing the writing of a Bible, and he also referred to it when he was manually copying a Torah scroll. In the late fourteenth century the Codex was transferred from Jerusalem to Aleppo, which local Jewish tradition claims to be the Aram Soba mentioned in the Bible. For centuries it was kept in an iron strongbox opened by two keys, held by two trustees. The box was kept in the ancient synagogue, in the “Cave of Elijah” on a large stone pedestal, under a veil of sanctity and mystery. For instance, anyone obliged by the community’s court to take an oath had to swear on the Codex. Aleppo’s Jews believed that their community was blessed in consequence of the presence of the Codex, and that once it would be removed, disaster would befall their community. For this reason (with a very few exceptions), the rabbis of Aleppo prevented scholars from examining the Codex. The codex considered authoritative by Maimonides; the sacred treasure of the ancient Jewish community of Aleppo; now deposited with the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum Jerusalem.
The oldest manuscript of the complete Bible, the Aleppo Codex is considered the most exact of all such codices. Following the UN resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for the establishment of a Jewish state in part of Palestine, rioting broke out in Aleppo during which Arab rioters caused damage to the Jewish quarter, especially to its synagogues. The Codex suffered damage, and part of it disappeared. Of the original 487 leaves, only 294 remained. Members of the community concealed the surviving sections in various places for about ten years. In 1957 they were smuggled out of Aleppo to Turkey. Thanks to the efforts of Izhak Ben-Zvi, second President of the State of Israel, the Codex was brought to Jerusalem and deposited in the Ben-Zvi Institute on January 23, 1958. Since then it has been the subject of much research and great efforts have been made to bring it to public attention. Several critical editions of the Bible have been published on the basis of the Aleppo Codex. Today the Codex is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where it can be viewed in the museum’s Shrine of the Book. A complete facsimile edition of the surviving sections was published by the Magnes Press and is available to the public.
The facsimile edition represents the fruit of almost two decades of research and planning by the staff of The Hebrew University Bible Project. It serves as a living link between the ancient community of Aleppo and the modern center of Jewish learning in Jerusalem.
Cloth cover edition. Price Includes Overseas Shipping via EMS (Express Mail Service).
|Size||48 x 37 cm.|
|Publisher||Hebrew University of Jerusalem|
|Place of Origin||Jerusalem, Israel.|