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Aleppo Codex
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
An important Masoretic manuscript widely considered the best exemplar of the ben Asher Masoretic textual tradition. A now-lost colophon asserted that “Aharon ben Asher himself provided it with vowel points, accent signs, and Masoretic notes” (Yeivin, Tiberian Masorah, 16). The codex aligns closely with what other medieval witnesses report about the scribal tradition associated with ben Asher, so the manuscript is generally accepted as “the most important representative of the standard Tiberian tradition” (Yeivin, Tiberian Masorah, 17).The Aleppo Codex dates to the early 10th century ad (ca. 925), so it is about a century older than the Leningrad Codex. During the Middle Ages, the codex was seized by crusaders, returned to the Jews, taken to Cairo, and then taken to Aleppo in Syria (Widder, Textual Criticism, 55). For many years, the Jewish community in Aleppo kept the codex safe but did not allow scholars access to it. In 1948, riots against the Jews broke out in Aleppo, and the synagogue housing the codex was set on fire. For a time, the entire manuscript was feared destroyed. Fortunately, about 75% of it survived and was brought to Israel.According to Goshen-Gottstein, the “Aleppo Codex is the oldest codex of the entire Hebrew Bible … fully vowelled, accentuated, and adorned with marginal notes according to a Tiberian massoretic tradition” (Goshen-Gottstein, “Aleppo Codex,” 145–63). The codex is estimated to have contained 380 pages, of which 294 survive. Most of the damage was to the Pentateuch. Two photographs preserve passages from the Pentateuch: Gen 26:34–27:30, and Deut 4:38–6:3. The manuscript contains the end of the Pentateuch from Deut 28:17 on (Yeivin, Tiberian Masorah, 17).In addition to the Pentateuch, the following passages and books are missing from the Aleppo Codex (per Yeivin, Tiberian Masorah, 17–18):2 Kgs 14:21–18:13Jer 29:9–31:35Jer 32:2–4, 9–11, 15–18, 22–24Amos 8:13–9:15ObadiahJonahMicah 1:1–5:1Zeph 3:20HaggaiZech 1:1–9:172 Chr 35:7–36:19Psa 15:1–25:1Song of Songs 3:11–8:14EcclesiastesLamentationsEstherDanielEzraNehemiahBecause of the missing material from the manuscript, most critical editions of the Hebrew Bible are based on the Leningrad Codex. However, this preference merely reflects the fact that Leningrad is the oldest complete manuscript. Since the Aleppo Codex is acknowledged as a better example of the Tiberian manuscript tradition, the Hebrew University Bible Project made Aleppo the base text for their critical edition (Widder, Textual Criticism, 56).Masoretic manuscripts include notations that record an immense amount of detail regarding the text. A marginal note might indicate how often a particular word is spelled a particular way. Most Masoretic codices contain many discrepancies where the marginal notes do not line up with the text, so the degree to which notation and biblical text align came to be a measure for the quality of a Masoretic manuscript (Goshen-Gottstein, “Aleppo Codex”). By this measure, the Aleppo Codex is remarkable because the correspondence between its text and its notation is “practically perfect,” reflecting “almost complete harmony” (Goshen-Gottstein, “Aleppo Codex”).
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The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Aleppo Codex
Aleppo Codex An important Masoretic manuscript widely considered the best exemplar of the ben Asher Masoretic textual tradition. A now-lost colophon asserted that “Aharon ben Asher himself provided it with vowel points, accent signs, and Masoretic notes” (Yeivin, Tiberian Masorah, 16). The codex aligns
The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 1, A–C
Aleppo Codex
Aleppo Codex. A 10th-cent. ms of the Hebrew Bible, regarded by some scholars as the most reliable (though incomplete) Masoretic codex. See text and manuscripts (OT).
The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volumes 1–5
ALEPPO CODEX
ALEPPO CODEX. Oldest known complete manuscript of the OT, written ca. 920 ce in Palestine, a valuable source document for the Masoretic textual tradition. It was kept in the synagogue of Aleppo, Syria (therefore its name), which was set on fire by rioters in 1948; the codex was thought to be destroyed,