Scholars Hunt for Missing Pages of Ancient Bible





A quest is under way on four continents to find the missing pages of one of the world's most important holy texts, the 1,000-year-old Hebrew Bible known as the Crown of Aleppo.

Crusaders held it for ransom, fire almost destroyed it and it was reputedly smuggled across Mideast borders hidden in a washing machine. But in 1958, when it finally reached Israel, 196 pages were missing — about 40 percent of the total — and for some Old Testament scholars they have become a kind of holy grail.

Researchers representing the manuscript's custodian in Jerusalem now say they have leads on some of the missing pages and are nearer their goal of making the manuscript whole again.

The Crown, known in English as the Aleppo Codex, may not be as famous as the Dead Sea Scrolls. But to many scholars it is even more important, because it is considered the definitive edition of the Bible for Jewry worldwide.

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