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Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible

The incredible story of the survival, against all odds, of the Aleppo Codex.

reviewed by Staff

Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible by Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schneider

Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible,
by Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schneider,
Jewish Publication Society.

In "Crown of Aleppo", Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schneider tell the incredible story of the survival, against all odds, of the Aleppo Codex - one of the most authoritative and accurate traditional Masoretic texts of the Bible.

Completed circa 939 in Tiberias, the "Crown" was created by exacting Tiberian scribes who copied the entire Bible into book form, adding annotations, vowel and cantillation marks, and precise commentary. Praised by Torah scholars for centuries after its writing, the "Crown" passed through history.

The book tells the incredible story of the Aleppo Codex, the most authoritative and accurate traditional Masoretic texts of the Bible. Because of its importance, it became known as the Crown of Aleppo. It traveled through Jerusalem and Cairo before finding a home at the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, Syria, where it remained until the synagogue was burned down in 1947. The Crown was believed to be lost forever, but it was discovered that most of it survived when it was smuggled into Israel in 1958 and later brought to its current home at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The Crown of Aleppo is not the only historical text that was thought to be lost. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of about 850 manuscripts, categorized as biblical, apocryphal, or sectarian, dating back to 250 B.C.E. through 68 C.E. They were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in Qumran, located on Dead Sea’s northwestern shores. Many scholars believe that the scrolls were written by a sect of Jews called the Essenes, who settled in the Judean Desert and disappeared after the Romans destroyed their settlements in 68 C.E. The Dead Sea Scrolls are now displayed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum located in Jerusalem.

This text have been crucial in our knowledge of Jewish history. In many ways they are like the Jewish people. It has overcome war and destruction, yet it still stands strong today as a source of inspiration for us and for future generations.



 


 
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