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Jerusalem Crown "Keter" Bible Now Available in the U.S. from JPS!

April 28, 2009

Preeminent Jerusalem Crown “Keter” Bible

Now Available from JPS!

JPS is proud to serve as exclusive North American distributor of the Jerusalem Crown Bible, the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, tracing its roots back to Tiberias in the early 10th century – and widely regarded as the world’s most accurate Hebrew Bible. This beautiful, slip-cased edition is printed in Israel on acid-free Bible paper to the highest production standards.

Known as the Aleppo Codex, as well as keter (crown), Crown of Aleppo or Crown of ben Asher, the manuscript contains vocalization signs, accent marks and Masorah (comments cross-referencing the spelling and the occurrence of particular words) inserted by Aaron ben Asher, the most renowned grammarian and scribe of his time. Because of Ben Asher’s meticulous attention to detail and accuracy, the keter was acknowledged as the most authoritative Hebrew Bible text.

The codex boasts a colorful history of its own. Stolen in the 11th century and whisked off to Egypt, it was believed to serve as Maimonides’ source when he wrote his own torah scroll in Cairo. Additionally, there are indications that he referred to the codex when preparing the hilkhot sefer tora section of his most famous work, the Mishneh Torah. In the 14th century the codex was moved once again, to Aleppo, Syria, where it remained in the possession of the town’s Jewish community for more than five centuries.

In 1947, anti-Jewish riots in Syria led to the burning of Aleppo’s synagogues. The codex, presumably damaged by fire, lay hidden until it was transported to Israel in 1958. Renowned scholar Rabbi Mordechai Breuer worked for nearly 20 years to reconstruct the significantly large portions that were missing, including most of the first five books.

The Hebrew University Bible Project in Jerusalem, begun in 1956, produced a new edition of the Bible (and the first print edition) based on the Aleppo Codex: The Jerusalem Crown Bible, Keter Yerushalayim, published by Nahum Ben-Zvi in Jerusalem.

A companion volume offering contributions on important aspects of the manuscript's significance and in-depth descriptions of its history, was edited by Dr. Mordechai Glatzer, an internationally recognized expert on the history of printing.

The realization of the Jerusalem Crown project was made possible through the generosity of the publisher Thomas Karger and the Karger Family Fund, Basel.