Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Tenth Century Torah Was Penned By Famed Jewish Scribe

Researchers from Cambridge have identified the author of an 10th century collection of biblical scriptures: Samuel ben Jacob, the same scribe who penned the Leningrad Codex. The Codex is the main Hebrew copy of the bible on which most modern translations are based.

The manuscript contains sections from Prophets, Judges and Kings, and was likely written around the year 975, researchers concluded. They used digital images of the manuscript, which is kept in the Russian National Library, to find “little flourishes and little symbols, jots and tittles on the manuscript” that mirrored those in the Leningrad Codex.

Researchers are not sure if the discovery will entail any changes to modern translations. Professor Gary Rendsburg, Laurie Chair in Jewish History at Rutgers University, said the differences may be as small as replacing “hair” with “hairs.”

“These scribes are like our heroes who have given us these texts,” Professor Rendsburg told Religion News Service. “Because they wrote with such devotion, such dedication and such accuracy. … For me, the excitement is to bring to life this person about whom we just knew a name, essentially.”

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.