Oldest near-complete Hebrew Bible purchased for amount that reaches heavens

The Codex Sassoon, the oldest and the most complete ancient Bible, is on display at Tel Aviv's Anu Museum March 23-29, 2023, before it's sold at auction in New York. (Courtesy Anu)

The Codex Sassoon, the oldest and the most complete ancient Bible, is on display at Tel Aviv’s Anu Museum (Courtesy Anu)

(JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY) — A 1,100-year-old Hebrew Bible that is one of the world’s oldest surviving biblical manuscripts sold for $38 million in New York on Wednesday, becoming among the most expensive books ever bought.

The Codex Sassoon, a leather-bound, handwritten parchment volume containing a nearly complete Hebrew Bible, was purchased by former US Ambassador to Romania Alfred H. Moses on behalf of the American Friends of ANU and donated to ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, where it will join the collection, the Sotheby’s auction house said in statement.

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The manuscript is the world’s oldest nearly complete copy of the Hebrew Bible. It was handwritten roughly 1,100 years ago on 792 pages of sheepskin, includes all 24 books of the Bible and is missing only about eight pages. Its writing and layout recall those of Torah scrolls read in synagogue.

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