Oldest Hebrew Bible sold for $38 million

Oldest Hebrew Bible sold for $38 million
Oldest Hebrew Bible sold for $38 million

Shafakna – The oldest copy of the Old Testament (the Jewish Bible), written in Hebrew, was sold at auction by Sotheby’s for $38.1 million on Wednesday, one of the highest prices for a book or historical document ever sold at auction.

Known as Sassoon, this copy contains all twenty-four parts of the Hebrew Bible, but is missing about eight leaves, including the first ten chapters of Genesis.

Researchers believe that this version dates back to the late ninth or early tenth century, making it the oldest nearly complete Hebrew Bible in existence today. Since 1989, it has been owned by the Swiss financier and collector, Jacky Safra, and has been seen by only a few scholars.

Sotheby’s announced that this copy was purchased for the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, thanks to a donation from Alfred Musa, the former ambassador to Romania, and his family.

Moses said in a statement: “The Hebrew Bible is the most influential in history and forms the cornerstone of Western civilization. I am glad to know that it belongs to the Jewish people. My task was to realize the historical significance of Sassoon, and to see it exist in a place accessible to all people in the world.”

The newspaper says that this book is slightly worn out, and is characterized by small stains and tears, which were carefully repaired with strings or strings. But the text is still remarkably legible, written in letters similar to those found on Torah scrolls in synagogues around the world today.

The book also includes many inscriptions that trace changes in ownership through the centuries. The oldest is a deed of sale from around 1000 CE, which indicates that it was sold by Khalaf ibn Ibrahim, a businessman who was operating in Palestine and Syria, to Isaac ibn Ezekiel al-Attar, who eventually gave it to his sons.

Another inscription indicates that after about 200 years, it was dedicated to a synagogue in the city of Makisin, in northeastern Syria. After the synagogue was demolished, a man named Salama ibn Abi al-Fakhr was assigned to restore it when the synagogue was rebuilt.

But the synagogue was not rebuilt, and what happened to the Bible between then and 1929, when it was bought by collector David Sassoon, is unclear, according to the newspaper.


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