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World News

Oldest near-complete Hebrew Bible expected to break auction records

by Kelly Valencia

The world’s oldest near-complete Hebrew Bible is to be sold at an auction in New York in May.

Known as the Codex Sassoon, the Bible dates back more than 1,100 years and is the earliest, most complete Hebrew Bible ever discovered.

Auctioned by Sotheby’s, the Bible will become the most valuable historical document or manuscript to appear at auction with an estimated price of 25m to -£42m.

The Bible, which is only missing 12 leaves, is composed of 24 books divided into three parts: the Pentateuch (the Torah), the Prophets (the Nevi’im) and the Writings (the Ketuvim).

In Christianity, the texts are referred to as the Old Testament and are incorporated into the biblical canon.

“The biblical text in book format marks a critical turning point in how we perceive the history of the Divine word across thousands of years and is a transformative witness to how the Hebrew Bible has influenced the pillars of civilization – art, culture, law, politics – for centuries,” Sharon Mintz, senior Judaica specialist, books & manuscripts, said.

Named after its previous owner David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942), the Bible will be exhibited at Sotheby’s London in the last week of February before a worldwide tour.

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