A 1,100-year-old Hebrew Bible, one of the world’s oldest surviving Bible manuscripts, was sold for $38 million in New York on Wednesday, becoming one of the world’s most expensive books. The manuscript is now called the Codex Sassoon, after David Solomon Sassoon, an Iraqi Jewish businessman and collector who bought it in 1929.
The seller, Swiss financier and collector Jacqui Safra, had owned the work since 1989. Now the Bible has been bought by ANU, the Museum of the Jewish People, for $38.1 million to display in Tel Aviv.
The Sassoon Codex, the oldest complete Hebrew Bible in the world, has found its way home to Israel. pic.twitter.com/75cZAuO1KG
— Israel Today (@israeltoday) May 18, 2023
“The Hebrew Bible is the most influential book in history and forms the foundation of Western civilization. I am happy that it belongs to the Jewish people,” said a spokesman for the museum. “It was my job, recognizing the historical importance of the Codex Sassoon, to ensure that it was preserved in a place accessible to all people worldwide.”
The manuscript is the world’s oldest nearly complete copy of the Hebrew Bible. It was handwritten about 1,100 years ago on 792 pages of sheepskin, contains all 24 books of the Bible and is only missing about eight pages. The writing and appearance are reminiscent of the Torah scrolls that are still read in synagogues today.
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