May 2023 News Perspective Online

Codex Sassoon

Thousands of people flocked to Bridwell Library for three days in April to view the Codex Sassoon, one of the most important and influential works of global religious and cultural history.

More than one thousand years old, the codex is the earliest and most complete Hebrew Bible. Carbon-dating indicates it was created in the 10th century, but the book spent most of its existence out of the public eye. After its home synagogue in Syria was sacked by medieval invaders, the codex vanished from public view for six centuries, until 1929, when it was acquired for £350 by David Sassoon, a major collector of Hebraica.

Some 3,500 people visited the exhibit during its three-day run, April 18-20. Viewers of the exhibit were also invited to attend Codex Fest – a series of lectures, music and other events and activities on the Perkins campus organized by Bridwell staff and others. The Codex Sassoon could become the most expensive historical document when it is auctioned in New York in May.

The exhibit garnered much media attention. Click the links to view stories from Spectrum News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News, Axios, NBC-DFW, and the Texas Jewish Post.

Sharon Liberman Mintz, curator with Sotheby’s and an expert on the Codex, is one of the very few people permitted to touch the book. Handling it with clean, bare hands is the safest way to handle it. Gloves and other materials are more acidic and cause more damage over time.
Former First Lady Laura Bush (right) was among the 3,500 people who came to Bridwell Library to view the Codex Sassoon. In the photo, she’s viewing the Gutenberg Bible (circa 1454-1455) with Arvid Nelsen (center), Bridwell’s Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, and Bridwell Director Anthony Elia (top left).
Alexander, son of Michelle Ried, Bridwell Library’s Operations and Programs Manager, came to see the Codex Sassoon on April 20, his 12th birthday.