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Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codexby Hayim Tawil
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
The dramatic story of the oldest Hebrew Bible in book form
The Crown of Aleppo, also known as the Aleppo Codex, is one of the most perfect examples of the traditional Masoretic text of the Bible. Completed circa 930 C.E. in Tiberias by prominent scribes who wrote the lettering and added vowel and cantillation marks, the codex then passed through history until it came to rest at the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, Syria. When the synagogue was burned in a pogrom, the codex was thought to be lost. That is where its great mystery begins. How it survived by being smuggled from the synagogue to the homes of Jewish dignitaries in Syria, and finally to its current location in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, is the story of this book.
Contains maps and photographs of the Aleppo Codex, the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, and key dignitaries associated with the rescue of the codex and its relocation to Israel. These images appear together for the first time in this volume.
Judaism, like all the great religions, has a strand within it that sees inward devotion, the opening of the human heart to Gods presence, to be the purpose of its entire edifice of praxis, liturgy, and way of life. This voice is not always easy to hear in a tradition where so much attention is devoted to the how rather than the why of religious living. The devotional claim, certainly a key part of Judaisms biblical heritage, has reasserted itself in the teachings of individual mystics and in the emergence of religious movements over the long course of Jewish history. This volume represents Arthur Greens own quest for such a Judaism—as a rabbi, as a scholar, and as a contemporary seeker.
This collection of essays brings together Greens scholarly writings, centered on the history of early Hasidism, and his highly personal approach to a rebirth of Jewish spirituality in our own day. In choosing to present them in this way he asserts a claim that they are all of a piece. They represent one mans attempt to wade through history and text, language and symbol, and an array of voices both past and present while always focusing on the essential questions: “What does it mean to be a religious human being, and what does Judaism teach us about how to be one?” This, the authors considers to be the heart of the matter.
Internationally recognized scholar David Ellenson shares twenty-three of his most representative essays, drawing on three decades of scholarship and demonstrating the consistency of the intellectual-religious interests that have animated him throughout his lifetime.
These essays center on a description and examination of the complex push and pull between Jewish tradition and Western culture. Ellenson addresses gender equality, womens rights, conversion, issues relating to who is a Jew, the future of the rabbinate, Jewish day schools, and other emerging trends in American Jewish life. As an outspoken advocate for a strong Israel that is faithful to the democratic and Jewish values that informed its founders, he also writes about religious tolerance and pluralism in the Jewish state.
The former president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the primary seminary of the Reform movement, Ellenson is widely respected for his vision of advancing Jewish unity and of preparing leadership for a contemporary Judaism that balances tradition with the demands of a changing world.
Scholars and students of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history will welcome this erudite collection by one of todays great Jewish leaders.
About the Author
David Ellenson is chancellor of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. His book After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity won the National Jewish Book Councils Award as the outstanding book in Jewish thought in 2005. His most recent book, coauthored with Daniel Gordis, is Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa.
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