Friday, May 17, 2013

Freading author Matti Friedman has received the 2013 Sophie Brody Medal for The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible



Freading author Matti Friedman has received the 2013 Sophie Brody Medal for The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible


A thousand years ago, the most perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible was written. It was kept safe through one upheaval after another in the Middle East, and by the 1940s it was housed in a dark grotto in Aleppo, Syria, and had become known around the world as the Aleppo Codex.
Journalist Matti Friedman's true-life detective story traces how this precious manuscript was smuggled from its hiding place in Syria into the newly founded state of Israel and how and why many of its most sacred and valuable pages went missing. It's a tale that involves grizzled secret agents, pious clergymen, shrewd antiquities collectors, and highly placed national figures who, as it turns out, would do anything to get their hands on an ancient, decaying book. What it reveals are uncomfortable truths about greed, state cover-ups, and the fascinating role of historical treasures in creating a national identity.


The Sophie Brody Medal, awarded by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), demonstrates the importance of learning and memory in Jewish culture.