[b-hebrew] Oldest MSS for creation account?

Ishinan 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 


Dear James,

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 
Hebrew translation.

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.

Best regards

Ishinan Ishibashi 

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