cover image Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codex

Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codex

Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schneider, Jewish Publication Society, $45 (220p) ISBN 978-0-8276-0895-5

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)