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earliest, most complete Hebrew bible Codex Sassoon on Display in Tel Aviv

Codex Sassoon

Codex Sassoon_ The Earliest Most Complete Hebrew Bible Circa 900 – Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The Codex Sassoon, a 1,200 year old Hebrew Bible that is the oldest known complete copy of the text, is now on display at the ANU-Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, in a special weeklong exhibition being held prior to its scheduled auction at Sotheby’s New York on 16 May.

Also known as The Damascus Pentateuch (the 5 Books of Moses) and dating back to the 9th century, the Bible became known as the Codex Sassoon for the famed collector David Solomon Sassoon (1880–1942), who bought the codex in Damascus in the early 20th century.

It will be on view from 23 – 29 March, admission is free and open to the public.

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Composed of 24 books divided into three parts—the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Writings—the Hebrew Bible makes the up the foundation for Judaism as well as the other Abrahamic faiths: Christianity, in which these texts are referred to as the Old Testament, and are incorporated into the biblical canon by the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant sects, among others; as well as Islam, which also holds the stories of the Hebrew Bible in special regard, with many of them included in the Qur’an and other significant works of Islamic literature.

Located in a city rightfully celebrated as an icon of modernization, ANU — Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv offers an authentic, inclusive and inspiring global Jewish experience for each and every visitor. The museum utilizes cutting-edge design and technology to showcase a vision of Jewish life that is diverse, accessible and engaging, connecting visitors with a personal sense of their identity, roots and connectedness.

“The Hebrew Bible is the sacred, foundational text for peoples across the globe,” says Sharon Liberman Mintz, a Senior Judaica Specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department. The 24 books, divided into three parts, contain the canonical Hebrew Scriptures: the Torah, the Nevi’im and the Ketuvim.

Codex Sassoon is a landmark for understanding the evolution of the history of the Hebrew Bible, and its appearance at auction this May represents the latest chapter in an incredible story of cultural transmission and heritage declared Sotheby’s.

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