David Harris/Ben-Zvi Institute in the Shrine of the Book

The Aleppo Codex, compiled by Aaron ben Asher, the leading Masorete, or biblical textual expert, in tenth-century Tiberias, then the center of biblical scholarship. The Aleppo Codex quickly became known as the most accurate text of the Hebrew Bible. Other venerable manuscripts were corrected to agree with Ben Asher’s version. “Everyone relied on it,” wrote the great medieval Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides, “… and I based myself on this for the Torah scroll that I wrote.”

Shown here is Judges 9:56–11:2. In addition to the consonantal text, the Codex contains vowel marks to indicate vocalization; accents that also serve as a musical notation system to guide the chanting of the Bible during synagogue services; notes on the spelling and meaning of ambiguous words; and cross-references to other occurrences of selected words.