Sunday, May 6, 2012

Now Reading: The Aleppo Codex

As defined by the author, an Associated Press correspondent living in Jerusalem, the "Aleppo Codex" is the most perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible -- "the singluar and authoritative version, for believing Jews, of God's word as it was sent into the world of men in their language."

When he discovered a copy of The Aleppo Codex in Israel's national museum, Matti Friedman wrote a story about how the manuscript was "hidden for centuries in the great synagogue of Aleppo, Syria, where it became known as the Crown of Aleppo...

"It was damaged by a fire set by Arab rioters in 1947, concealed, smuggled to the new state of Israel by the Jews of Aleppo as their community disappeared, and entrusted in 1958 to the country's president...

"This bound volume of parchment folios - a codex - had been kept intact for many hundreds of years, but a large number of leaves had mysteriously gone missing at the time of the synagogue fire. This hindered a quest by scholars to re-create the perfect text of the Bible, as the Crown had never been photographed and there were no known copies."

Friedman spent four years and traveled across three continents seeking the truth about how the codex was smuggled into Israel and what happed to the missing pages.

The True Story of Obesession, Faith, and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible 
by Matti Friedman
Algonquin Books, 2012