...an investigative book by Matti Friedman
I like it, I like it very much!
“The Aleppo Codex could be read as a thriller. It could also be read as a history of the Jewish people, or as a meditation on history and myth. This great book comes closer to containing everything than any book I’ve read in a long, long time.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer
A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, THE MOST PERFECT COPY OF THE HEBREW BIBLE WAS WRITTEN. IT WAS KEPT SAFE THROUGH ONE UPHEAVAL AFTER ANOTHER IN THE MIDDLE EAST. BY THE 1940S IT WAS HOUSED IN A DARK GROTTO IN ALEPPO, SYRIA, AND HAD BECOME KNOWN AROUND THE WORLD AS THE ALEPPO CODEX.
Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realised that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
~ UMBERTO ECO, The Name of the RoseMatti Friedman’s true-life detective story traces how this precious manuscript was smuggled from its hiding place in Syria into the newly founded state of Israel—and how and why many of its most sacred and valuable pages went missing. It’s a tale that involves secret agents, pious clergymen, obsessive antiquities collectors, and highly placed national figures who, as it turns out, would do anything to get their hands on an ancient book. What it reveals are uncomfortable truths about greed, state cover-ups, and the fascinating role of historical treasures in creating a national identity.
Friedman has unearthed documents kept secret for fifty years, interviewed key players from around the world, and followed the trail of the missing pages up to the present, including the charged four-year court battle to determine the codex’s rightful owners. Friedman also takes us back in time, revealing the once vibrant Jewish communities in Islamic lands. Epic in its sweep, The Aleppo Codex features a fascinating cast of characters—all of whom claim the codex as their own.
The codex provides vital keys to reading biblical texts. By recounting its history, Friedman explores the once vibrant Jewish communities in Islamic lands and follows the thread into the present, uncovering difficult truths about how the manuscript was taken to Israel and how its most important pages went missing. Along the way, he raises critical questions about who owns historical treasures and the role of myth and legend in the creation of a nation.
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☞Matti Friedman talks about his book, his experience in writing it, and...
THE CONTINUING MYSTERIES OF THE ALEPPO CODEX
|Shrine of the Book (Israel)|
- Aleppo Codex
- Damascus Pentateuch
- Dead Sea Scrolls
- Digital Dead Sea Scrolls
- The Ein Gedi Torah Scroll
- Torah with Haftarah Selections
- Manuscript of Hebrew Bible with full vocalization
- Cervera Bible, one of the oldest and most significant Sephardi Bibles
- Mechon Mamre
- Codices online
- The COJS Jewish History Database
- Jewish Sacred Texts