Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codex  -     By: Hayim Tawil, Bernard Schneider
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Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codex

Jewish Publication Society / 2010 / Hardcover

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Product Description

In this fascinating and comprehensive investigation into the Aleppo Codex, scholars Tawil and Schneider vividly recreate the history of this rare and eminently significant text and track its intriguing and tragic course through time. Through their analysis of its authorship in the 10th century they provide insights into its association with medieval and modern biblical luminaries, pointed questions regarding its partial destruction, and rare photographs. The authors convey both the spiritual and material significance of what many call simply "the Crown".

As the most authoritative rendering of the Torah, the Crown's maintenance and survival was vital, yet its transfer from place to place over the centuries has almost always been shrouded in mystery. During its 500-year stay in Aleppo, Syria, under the superstitious and watchful eye of the Jewish community there, only a handful of religious scholars were permitted to view the sacred codex, reflecting an unfortunate reality since pogroms in the 1940s destroyed substantial portions of the text. This highly readable and intriguing account will captivate readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the history of the Crown.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 176
Vendor: Jewish Publication Society
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 10.00 X 7.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0827608950
ISBN-13: 9780827608955

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Publisher's Description

Thanks to this generous donor for making the publication of this book possible:
Jack B. Dweck.

The history and dramatic rescue of the oldest Hebrew Bible in book form

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 until the 15th century when it was housed in the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, Syria. When the synagogue was burned in the 1947 pogrom, the codex was thought to be destroyed, lost forever.

That is where its great mystery begins. Miraculously, a significant portion of the Crown of Aleppo survived the fire and was smuggled from the synagogue ruins to an unknown location—presumably within the Aleppan Jewish community. Ten years later, the surviving pages of the codex were secretly brought to Israel and finally moved to their current location in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

This wonderfully rich book contains more than 50 rare photographs and maps, some in full color, including those of the Aleppo Codex, the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, and of the people who played a part in its rescue.

 

Publisher's Weekly

In this fascinating and comprehensive investigation into the Aleppo Codex, scholars Tawil and Schneider vividly recreate the history of this rare and eminently significant text and track its intriguing any tragic course through time. Through their analysis of its authorship in then10th century; insights into its association with medieval and modern biblical luminaries; pointed questions regarding its partial destruction; and rare photographs, the authors convey both the spiritual and material significance of what many call simply the Crown. As the most authoritative rendering of the Torah, the Crown's maintenance and survival was vital, yet its transfer from place to place over the centuries has almost always been shrouded in mystery. During its 500-year stay in Aleppo, Syria, under the superstitious and watchful eye of the Jewish community there, only a handful of religious scholars were permitted to view the sacred codex, reflecting an unfortunate reality since pogroms in the 1940s destroyed substantial portions of the text. This highly readable and intriguing account will captivate readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the history of the Crown. (July) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

“All in all, although the book is small, it contains a wealth of information that people kissing and otherwise extolling the Torah should know.”—Jewish Eye


“I once heard Elie Wiesel say: ‘Go try to write Jewish fiction when Jewish reality is always more incredible than anything that you can imagine!’ I thought of that line when I read this book . . . for if a novelist had made up this story, it would have been dismissed as impossible to believe.”—Rabbi Jack Reimer for the South Florida Jewish Journal


“The story of how the Dead Sea Scrolls were found . . . is well known. But the remarkable tale of the Crown of Aleppo, itself a simply priceless work, is much less known. This book from the Jewish Publication Society should start to fix that.”—Bill’s Faith Matters Weblog


Crown of Aleppo amounts to something of a short course in Jewish history in general and Bible scholarship in particular for the non-specialist reader. But it is also a kind of a thriller . . . that is solidly rooted in fact.”—Heritage Florida Jewish News


“This new book not only shares a gripping story of survival and preservation, but it also explains a lot about how our modern Bibles were preserved through the millennia.”—Read the Spirit

 

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