Codex Leningradensis) is the oldest complete
manuscript of the
Hebrew Bible in Hebrew, using the
Masoretic Text and
Tiberian vocalization. It is dated 1008 CE (or possibly 1009)
according to its colophon. The Aleppo Codex, against which the
Codex was corrected, is several decades older, but parts of
it have been missing since 1947, making the Leningrad
Codex the oldest
complete codex of the Tiberian mesorah that has survived intact to
In modern times, the Leningrad
Codex is significant as the Hebrew text
reproduced in Biblia Hebraica (1937) and Biblia Hebraica
Stuttgartensia (1977). It also serves scholars as a primary source for
the recovery of details in the missing parts of the Aleppo Codex.
4 Modern editions
4.1 Biblia Hebraica
4.2 Jewish editions
5 Sequence of the books
6 See also
8 External links
The biblical text as found in the codex contains the Hebrew
letter-text along with Tiberian vowels and cantillation signs. In
addition, there are masoretic notes in the margins. There are also
various technical supplements dealing with textual and linguistic
details, many of which are painted in geometrical forms. The codex is
written on parchment and bound in leather.
The Leningrad Codex, in extraordinarily pristine condition after a
millennium, also provides an example of medieval Jewish art. Sixteen
of the pages contain decorative geometric patterns that illuminate
passages from the text. The carpet page shows a star with the names of
the scribes on the edges and a blessing written in the middle.
The order of the books in the Leningrad
Codex follows the Tiberian
textual tradition, which is also that of the later tradition of
Sephardic biblical manuscripts. This order for the books differs
markedly from that of most printed Hebrew bibles for the books of the
Ketuvim. In the Leningrad Codex, the order of the
Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes,
Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah. The full order of the
books is given below.
Codex text sample, portions of Exodus 15:21-16:3
According to its colophon, the codex was copied in Cairo from
manuscripts written by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher. It has been claimed
to be a product of the Asher scriptorium itself; however, there is no
evidence that Asher ever saw it. Unusual for a masoretic codex, the
same man (Samuel ben Jacob) wrote the consonants, the vowels and the
Masoretic notes. In its vocalization system (vowel points and
cantillation) it is considered by scholars to be the most faithful
representative of ben Asher's tradition apart from the Aleppo Codex
(edited by ben Asher himself). Its letter-text is not superb, however,
and contradicts its own masoretic apparatus in many hundreds of
places. There are numerous alterations and erasures, and it was
Moshe Goshen-Gottstein that an existing text not
following Asher's rules was heavily amended so as to make it conform
to these rules.
The codex is now preserved in the National Library of Russia,
accessioned as "Firkovich B 19 A". Its former owner, the Crimean
Karaite collector Abraham Firkovich, left no indication in his
writings where he had acquired the codex, which was taken to Odessa in
1838 and later transferred to the Imperial Library in St Petersburg.
Codex (a codex is a handwritten book as opposed to a
scroll) is so named because it has been housed at the National Library
of Russia in
Saint Petersburg since 1863. In 1924, after the Russian
Revolution, Petrograd (formerly Saint Petersburg) was renamed
Leningrad, and, because the codex was used as the basic text for the
Biblia Hebraica since 1937, it became internationally known as the
"Leningrad Codex". Although in 1991, after the dissolution of the
Soviet Union, the city's original name was restored to St Petersburg,
National Library of Russia requested that "Leningrad" be retained
in the name of the codex. Nonetheless, the
Codex is occasionally
referred to as the
Codex Petersburgensis or Petropolitanus, or the St.
Petersburg Codex. This is ambiguous as, since 1876, these appellations
refer to a different biblical codex (MS. Heb B 3) which is even older
(916 CE), but contains only the later Prophets.
In 1935, the Leningrad
Codex was lent to the Old Testament Seminar of
the University of Leipzig for two years while
Paul E. Kahle supervised
its transcription for the Hebrew text of the third edition of Biblia
Hebraica (BHK), published in Stuttgart, 1937. The codex was also used
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) in 1977, and is being used
Biblia Hebraica Quinta
Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ).
As an original work by Tiberian masoretes, the Leningrad
older by several centuries than the other Hebrew manuscripts which had
been used for all previous editions of printed Hebrew bibles until
The Westminster Leningrad
Codex is an online digital version of the
Codex maintained by the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced
Biblical Research at the Westminster Theological Seminary. This is a
verified version of the Michigan-Claremont text, transcribed from BHS
University of Michigan
University of Michigan in 1981-1982 under the direction of H.
Van Dyke Parunak (of the University of Michigan) and Richard E.
Whitaker (of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont
Graduate University) with funding from the Packard Foundation and the
University of Michigan, with further proofreading and corrections.
The online version includes transcription notes and tools for
Codex also served as the basis for two important modern
Jewish editions of the
Hebrew Bible (Tanakh):
The Dotan edition, which was distributed to soldiers in mass
quantities as the official
Tanakh of the Israel Defense Forces
throughout the 1990s.
The JPS Hebrew-English
Tanakh (Philadelphia, 1999) and the various
volumes of the JPS
Torah Commentary and JPS Bible Commentary.
For minute masoretic details, however, Israeli and Jewish scholars
have shown a marked preference for modern Hebrew editions based upon
the Aleppo Codex. These editions use the Leningrad
Codex as the most
important source (but not the only one) for the reconstruction of
parts of the
Aleppo Codex that have been missing since 1947.
Sequence of the books
As explained in the Contents section above, this is different from
most modern Hebrew bibles:
1. Genesis [בראשית / Bereishit]
2. Exodus [שמות / Shemot]
Leviticus [ויקרא / Vayikra]
4. Numbers [במדבר / Bamidbar]
Deuteronomy [דברים / Devarim]
6. Joshua [יהושע / Yehoshua]
7. Judges [שופטים / Shofetim]
8. Samuel (I & II) [שמואל / Shemuel]
9. Kings (I & II) [מלכים / Melakhim]
10. Isaiah [ישעיהו / Yeshayahu]
11. Jeremiah [ירמיהו / Yirmiyahu]
12. Ezekiel [יחזקאל / Yehezqel]
13. The Twelve Prophets [תרי עשר]
a. Hosea [הושע / Hoshea]
b. Joel [יואל / Yo'el]
c. Amos [עמוס / Amos]
d. Obadiah [עובדיה / Ovadyah]
e. Jonah [יונה / Yonah]
f. Micah [מיכה / Mikhah]
g. Nahum [נחום / Nahum]
h. Habakkuk [חבקוק /Habakuk]
i. Zephaniah [צפניה / Tsefanyah]
j. Haggai [חגי / Hagai]
k. Zechariah [זכריה / Zekharyah]
l. Malachi [מלאכי / Mal'akhi]
14. Chronicles (I & II) [דברי הימים / Divrei Hayamim]
The "Sifrei Emet," "Books of Truth":
Psalms [תהלים / Tehilim]
16. Job [איוב / Iyov]
17. Proverbs [משלי / Mishlei]
The "Five Megilot" or "Five Scrolls":
18. Ruth [רות / Rut]
Song of Songs
Song of Songs [שיר השירים / Shir Hashirim]
Ecclesiastes [קהלת / Kohelet]
21. Lamentations [איכה / Eikhah]
22. Esther [אסתר / Esther]
The rest of the "Writings":
23. Daniel [דניאל / Dani'el]
24. Ezra-Nehemiah [עזרא ונחמיה / Ezra ve-Nehemiah]
Tanakh at Qumran
Hebrew Bible manuscripts
^ There are older manuscripts of translations into other languages,
such as the
Codex Amiatinus in Latin.
^ Foreword by Gérard E. Weil to Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 1977.
^ Stuhlman, Daniel D. (1 March 1998). "The Leningrad Codex".
Librarian's Lobby. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
^ On the vocalization and letter-text of the Leningrad
Israel Yeivin, The
Aleppo Codex of the Bible: A Study of its
Vocalization and Accentuation (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1968) pp. 357-359
^ Introductory notes to the Bibleworks WTT text, www.bibleworks.com
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Leningrad Codex
Codex (Or. 4445) and other MSS., from the British Library
The Unicode/XML Westminster Leningrad Codex, a digital text version
transcribed from the Westminster Leningrad
Codex maintained by the J.
Alan Groves Center.
Wikimedia Commons - full online digital images (book by book).
Seforim Online - full online digital images (in a single large file).
Number 264 in the database.
The Leningrad Codex: A Facsimile Edition at Google books.
Daniel D. Stuhlman, "Librarian's Lobby: The Leningrad Codex" (March
1998): occasioned by the photo