Monday, July 30, 2012

N.Y. Times Magazine on the Aleppo Codex

Ronen Bergman had a fascinating piece in yesterday's N.Y. Times Magazine called "A High Holy Whodunit" on the history and controversies surrounding the Aleppo Codex.  It begins:
One day this spring, on the condition that I not reveal any details of its location nor the stringent security measures in place to protect its contents, I entered a hidden vault at the Israel Museum and gazed upon the Aleppo Codex — the oldest, most complete, most accurate text of the Hebrew Bible. The story of how it arrived here, in Jerusalem, is a tale of ancient fears and modern prejudices, one that touches on one of the rawest nerves in Israeli society: the clash of cultures between Jews from Arab countries and the European Jews, or Ashkenazim, who controlled the country during its formative years. And the story of how some 200 pages of the codex went missing — and to this day remain the object of searches carried out around the globe by biblical scholars, private investigators, shadowy businessmen and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency — is one of the great mysteries in Jewish history.
Portions of the recent book Bergman cites in the article, Matti Friedman's "The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible" are available in a Google Books preview here.  The Ben-Zvi Institute also has a special page on the Aleppo Codex here, which includes scanned images.