The Kaifeng Manuscripts

What’s the significance of the Kaifeng Manuscript on display at Museum of the Bible? The Kaifeng Jews are thought to have entered China by at least the 10th century and building a synagogue along the Yellow River as early as the 12th century. Around 1850, a London-based organization purchased from the synagogue several ancient manuscripts which included the Shema—the evening prayers—from Deuteronomy. The Shema encourages parents to impress the commandments on their children when they sit at home, walk along the road, lie down, and get up. The Chinese Jews of Kaifeng were disconnected from Jewish leadership in Israel and Egypt, but they still produced accurate copies of the Hebrew Bible. Their incredible commitment to preserving the biblical text is captured in the Kaifeng manuscripts.


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