The Missing Link in the History of the Hebrew Bible

Nov. 13 2015

The oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible is the Leningrad codex, written by an Egyptian Jewish scribe in 1008 CE. (The Aleppo codex, written around 930, is missing nearly 200 pages.) Older still are the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include extensive fragments of the Bible and date to before 68 CE. Only one manuscript of the Bible exists from the intervening period, and Jennifer Drummond tells its story:

The Ashkar-Gilson manuscript was purchased by Fuad Ashkar and Albert Gilson (hence its name) from an antiquities dealer in Beirut in 1972, and some years later they donated it to Duke University in North Carolina. Based on carbon-14 dating and paleographic analysis, the Ashkar-Gilson manuscript was dated to sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries CE, right at the tail end of the so-called “silent era”—an almost 600-year period from the 3rd through the 8th centuries, or the time between the oldest Hebrew Bible fragments (the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the oldest complete authoritative Masoretic codices.

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Aleppo codex, Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, Masoretes

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan