[b-hebrew] Oldest MSS for creation account?
ishinan at comcast.net
Mon Oct 19 22:53:19 EDT 2009
James Christian wrote:
...does anybody know which manuscript or fragment is the oldest that
contains the creation account in Hebrew (and any other languages for that
Your best bet would be the following sources:
The Aleppo Codex was written in the 10th century CE. It is considered the
most authoritative document in the masorah. It is especially valuable
witness to the early Masoretic textual tradition associated with Rabbi Aaron
Ben Asher, a famous grammarian and scribe of the tenth century. It was
written around A.D. 920 in Palestine, probably in the vicinity of Tiberias.
It is seen as the most authoritative source document for both the original
biblical text and its vocalization.
In this respect, you can consult: The Aleppo Codex Online homepage (which is
at times erratic, therefore requires some patience, but the pictures are
worth the aggravation)
See also Moshe H. Goshen-Gottstein, ed., The Aleppo Codex. Jerusalem:
Hebrew University Bible Project, 1976. Photographic facsimile edited by
Moshe H. Goshen-Gottstein, Introduction in Hebrew and English.
And Mordechai Breuer et al., Jerusalem Crown. The Bible of the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem. Pentateuch, Prophets and Writings, According to the
Text and Masorah of the Aleppo Codex and Related Manuscripts, Following the
Methods of Rabbi Mordechai Breuer. Basel, Switzerland: Karger, 2000
Last, but not least, I highly recommend Saadia Gaon's (Sa?id bin Yusuf
al-Fayyumiy b. Egypt 882/892, d. Baghdad 942) Commentary on the Book of
In the 10th century AD Saadia Gaon wrote a Tafsir, an Arabic translation of
the Tanakh with a lengthy commentary. These were written in Hebrew
characters (Judaeo-Arabic).. Unfortunately, because of its size, it has not
come down to us in complete form. Professor Moshe Zucker spent many
thousands of hours searching for fragments of this lost work among the
hundreds of thousands of torn pages of the Cairo Geniza, and published a
large part of the Gaon's commentary on Genesis, both in Judaeo-Arabic and in
It has fallen to Michael Linetsky, to undertake the task of presenting this
commentary in English.
See Rabbi Saadiah Gaon's Commentary on the Book of Creation by Saadia Gaon,
Saadia, Michael Linetsky (Translator) . ISBN-13: 9780300044904
Michael Linetsky was born in the former USSR and came to the United States
in 1978. He resides in New Jersey and attends Yeshiva University.
His work is the first comprehensive translation into English of Rabbi
Saadia's commentary on a significant portion of the Book of Genesis.
Good luck with your research.
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