BAR 34:05, Sep/Oct 2008
Leningrad vs. Aleppo
The only complete copy of the Hebrew Bible from the same period as the Aleppo Codex is the Leningrad Codex in St. Petersburg.a It is similar to the Aleppo Codex in many respects—in both date (to within a few decades at most) and in distinction. Like the Aleppo Codex, the Leningrad Codex includes vowel markings, cantillation signs and extensive textual notes (masora). In the photo, verses extolling the sanctity of the Biblical text run through the Leningrad Codex’s “carpet page,” a page of geometric designs often included in illuminated manuscripts.
To my mind, however, the Aleppo Codex is superior in its accuracy and masora scholarship.
For much of the world today, however, the standard scholarly text of the Hebrew Bible is the Biblia Hebraica, which now uses the Leningrad Codex, rather than the Aleppo Codex, as its base text. The first two editions of the Biblia Hebraica used the Rabbinic Bible of 1524 printed in Venice. The third edition, prepared by two great German Biblical scholars, Paul Kahle and Rudolf Kittel, used the Leningrad Codex. However, in his preface to this edition Paul Kahle notes his preference for the Aleppo Codex: