|Is this the oldest Torah scroll? From a library in Bologna, claimed to be written in the 12th century.|
|Is this the oldest Torah scroll in the world? Claimed as written in the 7th century and found in the Karaite Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is written on deer skin parchment.|
But where would deer skin have come from in 7th century Jerusalem? Deer are not native to the Middle East. At least I don't think they are. Did some sofer in tights travel to Sherwood Forest, where joining Good King Axelrad the Vth and his band of Merry Men, capture a live deer, shecht it, and bring its hide back to Jerusalem to be used in making ritual scrolls? A mystery, no?
And why are there so few ancient Torah scrolls? The Torah dates back 3300 years. It is written on durable animal skin with special black ink. They are treasured as the word of G-d and kept in arks. Why would one ever perish, except in the ravages of anti-semitic mayhem over the millenia? But still, many more should have survived than perished. What became of them?
Another mystery, no?