Sotheby's - New York

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

Codex Sassoon: The Earliest Most Complete Hebrew Bible
Sale #N11240

Sotheby's is proud to offer Codex Sassoon: The Earliest Most Complete Hebrew Bible during this year's marquee New York Sales.

The Bible is one of the world’s greatest treasures and holds powerful resonance for the three monotheistic religions and their billions of adherents. For thousands of years its sacred words have been closely studied, analyzed, and meditated on. The Hebrew Bible is composed of twenty-four books divided into three parts: the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Writings. Christians call these texts the Old Testament, and Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant sects all incorporate them into their biblical canons. Muslims, too, regard the Torah and the Psalms as divinely revealed books, and many biblical stories made their way into the Qur’an and later Islamic works. Copied, printed, and translated into scores of languages the world over, the Hebrew Bible arguably constitutes the most influential book of human history and the bedrock of Western civilization. Codex Sassoon, created circa 900, is the earliest surviving example of a single codex containing all the books of the Hebrew Bible with their punctuation, vowels, and accents.

The codex is named for its prominent modern owner, David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942), who assembled the largest and most important private collection of Hebrew manuscripts in the world and had a special affinity for Bibles in particular. Some of the most valuable and important items in his library belonged to this genre of Hebrew literature. His collection catalogue, Ohel Dawid, begins and ends with biblical material, and Codex Sassoon is its very last entry, giving pride of place to this monument of world civilization.

The Codex Sassoon will also be on view in our Sotheby’s Los Angeles gallery from Sunday, April 30th to Wednesday, May 3rd.



New York
Sun, May 7th 1pm - 5pm
Mon, May 8th 10am - 5pm
Tue, May 9th 10am - 5pm
Wed, May 10th 10am - 5pm
Thu, May 11th 10am - 5pm
Fri, May 12th 10am - 5pm
Sat, May 13th 10am - 5pm
Sun, May 14th 1pm - 5pm
Mon, May 15th 10am - 5pm
Tue, May 16th 10am - 5pm

Tue, Feb 28th 10am - 5pm

Sotheby's - New York
1334 York Avenue

New York, NY

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Sotheby's - New York