Biblical Archaeology Review 34:5, September/October 2008

The Shattered Crown

The Aleppo Codex, 60 Years After the Riots

By Yosef Ofer

The Aleppo Codex, the most revered copy of the Hebrew Bible, survived intact for more than a millennium before it was ripped apart, burnt, stolen, secreted and, finally, rescued.

On November 29, 1947, the very day that Hebrew University Professor E.L. Sukenik acquired the first three Dead Sea Scrolls and brought them back to Jerusalem, the United Nations passed by a two -thirds vote the resolution partitioning Palestine, effectively creating a Jewish state for the first time in two millennia. To Sukenik, it was almost as if the apocalypse had arrived: A 2,000-year-old Isaiah scroll—which prophesied the return of Israel—surfaced virtually on the same day that Jewish sovereignty was reestablished in the Holy Land.

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