The oldest and most complete Hebrew Bible to be auctioned for an astronomical amount, the auction house announced hours ago Sotheby’s.
He Sassoon Manuscript, or Codex Sassoonfrom the surname of its best-known owner, David Solomon Sassoon (died 1942), dates to the year AD 900 and represents “the most complete Hebrew Bible (…) valued at $30 million to $50 million, one of the most expensive manuscripts ever sold,” he told AFP Richard Austinhead of ancient books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s.
The sale will take place in May.during the classic spring season of auctions of contemporary, modern and impressionist art paintings organized by the giants of the sector in New York.
As for possible buyers, Austin thinks the list is “a bottomless pit.” It is a text “founder of civilizations. It is difficult to find a text that has had more influence than the Bible in the history of humanity”.
The code – authenticated by carbon test 14 and which is in an exceptional state of preservation – only a few pages missing and includes 24 books of the famous Hebrew Bible Dead Sea Scrolls dating back to the third century before our era.
In 2021, Sotheby’s held an auction which, to this day, is considered the most expensive in history. It was the billionaire investor Kenneth Griffin who broke the record by paying $43.2 million to buy the first edition of the United States Constitution. Before that, in 1994, Bill Gates had acquired the Codice Martello – a collection of scientific writings and drawings by the painter Leonardo da Vinci – for $30.8 million.
The Sassoon Manuscript contains numerous inscriptions in its margins, notes and other notes made by the previous owners or even by communities that used it to pray.
Sotheby’s has declared this document to be a “key link in Jewish history” and a “reference of the history of mankind”.
While waiting to be auctioned, the codex or manuscript will be exhibited to the public at Sotheby’s in London and, subsequently, will travel Tel Aviv, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. It will be the first time in 40 years that people will be able to access it.
The Hebrew Bible consists of 24 different books organized into three parts:the Pentateuch, the Prophets and the Writings– and begins with Genesis to conclude with the chronicles. It is considered the basis of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
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