The Another

    The oldest known Hebrew Bible leaves for a record amount at Sotheby’s – Liberation



    Its place is in a museum

    The work, dated from the 10th century, was acquired for 38.1 million dollars by the former American ambassador Alfred Moses. He plans to donate it to the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.

    Never had such a sum been disbursed for a manuscript book. But it is not just any book: the oldest known almost complete Hebrew Bible. This thousand-year-old relic was bought at auction on Wednesday in New York for $38.1 million at Sotheby’s. Not to sleep in a private collection but to be presented to the public, because the work will be offered to the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.

    The Sassoon codex, named after its best-known owner, David Solomon Sassoon (died 1942), was purchased by former American ambassador and philanthropist Alfred Moses and his family, “for the benefit of American Friends of the ANU-Museum of the Jewish People and was donated” to this institution, Sotheby’s said in a statement. which relates that “the hammer fell after a four-minute battle between two determined buyers”.

    Written around the year 900 in Israel or Syria

    The Bible would date from the tenth century of our era, or even from the end of the ninth century. It is in a visibly exceptional state of preservation, only a few pages are missing. The book links 24 books of the Hebrew Bible taken from the famous scrolls of the Dead Sea Scrolls dating from the 3rd century BC.

    “This bible was written around the year 900, in Israel or Syria”, assures Sharon Mintz, specialist in the texts of Judaism at Sotheby’s. A bill of sale shows that it was sold in the year 1000 and kept in the synagogue of Makisin in northeastern Syria (now Markada) until around the year 1400. “The manuscript then disappeared for about 500 years and reappeared in 1929 when it was offered for sale to David Solomon Sassoon, one of the greatest collectors of Hebrew manuscripts”, adds Sharon Mintz. Here it is in new hands.


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