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RE: [textualcriticism] Aleppo Codex - Jerusalem Crown edition

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  • Harold P. Scanlin
    Wieland and Jim West recently provided some useful information on Hebrew Bible texts derived from the Aleppo codex. Here s some additional information on
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 4, 2006
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      Wieland and Jim West recently provided some useful information on Hebrew Bible texts derived from the Aleppo codex. Here’s some additional information on Aleppo that should be kept in mind when working with this very important manuscript.


      As most of you probably know, practically all of the Torah is missing. It begins with Deut 28:17. Other portions of the MS are also missing, including several chapters each from 2 Kings and Jeremiah, as well as various portions of the Writings.


      It has often been stated that the Torah portion was destroyed in a fire at the synagogue housing Aleppo, but a more recent scientific analysis concluded that the damage seen in the lower right and left corners of the MS is due to fungus. This evidence, combined with the discovery of several additional small portions, suggests that more of the missing portions may eventually come to light. The missing leaf of 2 chronicles showed u in New York, but is now back in Israel with the rest of the codex. A small scrap of a leaf from Exodus is also known to exist.


      The photos that Wieland mentioned are found in Wickes book on the accents (Gen 26:34-27:30) and an early 20th century travelogue (Deut 4:38 – 6:3). Several other sources provide (likely) information on the content of Aleppo. A Hebrew Bible incunabulum at Jewish Theological Seminary contains annotations most likely based on someone’s examination of Aleppo. Umberto Cassuto examined Aleppo in the mid-20th century and made notes on a number of readings. (He had hoped to use Aleppo for his Hebrew Bible edition but failed to obtain permission.) Yosef Ofer recently discovered n the JNUL archives a copy of the transcription of the masoretic front and back matter done by (or for) Baer in the 19th century.


      The “Jerusalem Crown” edition, based on Aleppo, could actually be considered the third edition of Mordechai Breuer’s edition (first edition, Jerusalem:Kook, 1989; second edition Jerusalem:Horeb, date?). Breuer, a leading expert on Aleppo, has applied the Aleppo scribe’s principles to the missing portions in preparing his edition. Sometimes the Jerusalem Crown edition is called the Hebrew University Bible, but it is not affiliated with the Hebrew University Bible Project critical edition, also based on Aleppo.


      The “official” Aleppo website <aleppocodex.org> provides images of the codex, some in high resolution PDF files. Some of the pages on the site don’t seem to be working at present.


      Anyone interested in the Jerusalem Crown edition should also get the “Companion Volume” for information on the edition and its editorial principles.


      Perhaps of even greater interest to textual critics is the volume “Nusach ha-Miqra,”edited by Breuer, also available from the same source.  According to the sample page on the website it provides variant readings from the major, generally early, codexes. I ordered a copy and can report its contents in greater detail when the book arrives. The complete volume is probably developed/expanded from Breuer’s text-critical notes in the multi-volume “Da’at Miqra” commentary series (Jerusalem:Kook). It is an Orthodox commentary with emphasis on biblical realia and peshat. The series is in Hebrew, but Psalms (3 vols.) has now been translated into English, unfortunately without the text-critical sections.


      It’s nice to have the “Aleppo Codex” for the Pocket PC, but it should be kept in mind that the numerous qualifications described above means that the text is more like a Tanakh based on Aleppo.




      Harold P. Scanlin

      41 Waldheim Park

      Allentown, PA  18103

      voice  610-791-9146

      fax  610-791-0439



      -----Original Message-----
      From: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com [mailto:textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wieland Willker
      Friday, December 30, 2005 4:25 PM
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [textualcriticism] Aleppo Codex - Jerusalem Crown edition


      "The Jerusalem Crown is a new, revised, and accurate Bible, published in the
      spring of 2001 as a gesture toward the Aleppo Codex. The edition is based on
      the latest scholarship concerning the biblical text ..."

      Looks nice, prices are reasonable.

      The history of the codex is interesting. I remember that they recovered some
      of the lost parts from old photographs.

      Best wishes
      Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
      Textcritical commentary:

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