1,200-year-old Jewish Prayer Book Unveiled in Israeli Museum

Ancient book goes on display for first time in Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

The Associated Press
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Bible Lands Museum director Amanda Weiss holds an ancient Siddur, or Jewish prayer book, as she puts it on display at the museum in Jerusalem September 18, 2014. Credit: Reuters
The Associated Press

An Israeli museum has unveiled what it says in the oldest known Jewish prayer book in the world.

The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem says the prayer book has been carbon dated by three experts to 820 A.D. The book is written in Hebrew, contains about 50 pages and is still in its original binding. It went on public display for the first time Thursday.

The book contains three main parts, the morning service, liturgical poems and the Haggadah - a text describing the Jews' exodus from Egypt and traditionally read at the Jewish Passover dinner.

Such prayer books still serve as the basis for the prayer service in Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.

"This is a real treasure of the Jewish people," said Amanda Weiss, the Bible Lands Museum's executive director.

The book was donated by Oklahoma businessman Steve Green, a devout Christian and owner of one of the largest collections of rare biblical artifacts in the world.

Green says he donated the item because he wanted to "bring our love for the Bible to the land of the Bible."

Green's family plans to create a Bible museum on land near the National Mall in Washington.