Harper Academic

The Lost Book of Moses

The Hunt for the World's Oldest Bible

by Chanan Tigay

On Sale: 02/07/2017

Price: $15.99

The Lost Book of Moses

The Hunt for the World's Oldest Bible

by Chanan Tigay

On Sale: 02/07/2017


Price: $15.99

About the Book

In 1883, Moses Wilhelm Shapira arrived unannounced in London claiming to have discovered the world’s oldest Bible scroll in a desert cave east of the Dead Sea. With his phenomenal find, Shapira swiftly became world famous—but, just as quickly, his scroll was discredited as a clever forgery. With the discovery of the eerily similar Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, however, investigators reopened the case, wondering whether Shapira had, in fact, discovered the first Dead Sea Scroll, seven decades before the rest. Here, in a globetrotting narrative with all the suspense of a classic detective story, award- winning journalist Chanan Tigay sets out to find the scrolls and determine Shapira’s guilt or innocence for himself.

Critical Praise

“Extremely enjoyable. . . . It will delight anyone who finds religion or its history even remotely arresting. At once a mystery and a historical yarn, Mr. Tigay’s book is also a reminder that humor and a real sense of fun can enliven a serious piece of work.” — Wall Street Journal

“A rollicking tale all its own, The Lost Book of Moses is a page-turning adventure that will engross proof-seeking readers everywhere.” — San Francisco Chroncile

“The heart of Tigay’s book is a gripping account of his quest… This admirably researched book offers a fine occasion to understand Shapira as a product of a modern fetish for authenticity and a rivalry between European nation-states obsessed not just with colonial expansion but with their own origins.” — Haaretz

“Tigay’s fascination with this obscure mystery is infectious, and his writing is crisp and lively. Tigay keeps the reader in suspense until the very end… Indeed, John Le Carré would be hard pressed to devise such a tantalizing mystery or a more complex leading man.” — Christian Science Monitor

“Tigay has constructed a thrilling and suspenseful true story of lost antiquities and intrepid modern investigations, managing to mine this tale for realistic entertainment more worthy of Indiana Jones than most Raiders sequels… This book’s reality puts such fictions as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code to shame.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Not only does [Tigay] solve the mystery of the scrolls, he also develops a deeper acquaintance with Shapira, who turns out to have been a remarkable character. It is fair to say that Shapira left a complicated legacy, and that the indefatigable Tigay gives it its due.” — The Forward

“Tigay’s narration, juxtaposed against Shapira’s life and times, is as much a personal journey as it is a quest for an artifact; getting to know him is almost as interesting as learning about Shapira. Readers captivated by the romance of biblical archaeology will find much fascinating material here.” — Booklist

“A dynamic and satisfying account of a strange, remarkable man whose discovery could turn the world of biblical scholarship on its head.” — Publishers Weekly

“an intriguing and wide-ranging tale. . . . A work of broad appeal, for the history buff and mystery lover alike. — Kirkus (starred review)

“Chanan Tigay has written a delight of a book—a mysterious treasure, an ossuary of Abrahamic secrets that surfaced once and disappeared. Tigay takes us on a gripping personal quest and plunges into the uncertainties of ancient scripture and a tour of the murky underworld of artifact thieves, forgers, and traders.” — T. J. Stiles, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and author of Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America

“Who would have thought that this tale of manuscripts, scrolls and notebooks could be such an engrossing one? Chanan Tigay tells a good story, and evokes the characters at its center to bring a fascinating piece of history to life.” — Adam Hochschild, finalist for the National Book Award and author of King Leopold's Ghost and To End All Wars

“A enthralling historical mystery. . . . Tigay unfolds a compelling narrative of passions, delusions, deceptions and death, an epic of frailties and faith worthy of the Old Testament itself. The Lost Book of Moses marks the auspicious debut of an assured researcher and gifted storyteller. ” — Jason Roberts, National Book Critics Circle Finalist, A Sense of the World

“The Lost Book of Moses is masterfully told, shot through with wit and insight and infused with deep knowledge of Biblical scripture. This book will appeal not only to enthusiasts of antiquity and the birth of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but to all who love a well-crafted mystery.” — Scott Wallace, author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes

“In The Lost Book of Moses, Chanan Tigay takes a fascinating headfirst dive into a cadre of obsessives pursuing a lost treasure linked to one of the great, elusive, and possibly criminal figures of early biblical archaeology. Years of international detective work have produced a saga of faith and fraud.” — Matti Friedman, author of The Aleppo Codex

“Chanan Tigay writes with the grand historical perspective of Erik Larson, the addictive storytelling of Simon Winchester, and the penetrating insight of Sebastian Junger. The Lost Book of Moses is an amazing story told by a writer of formidable talent.” — Justin St. Germain, author of Son of a Gun

“With the skill and awareness of a Conan Doyle we are taken on a journey by a master storyteller that turns a historical investigation into a detective yarn. Narrative artistry magnifies it, and like so many investigative stories the answers were hiding all along in plain sight. ” — Lowell Bergman, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, producer/correspondent for PBS Frontline, and former 60 Minutes producer.


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062206428
  • ISBN 10: 0062206427
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 02/07/2017
  • Trimsize: 5.310 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 0.830 in (d)
  • Pages: 368
  • List Price: $15.99
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / Expeditions & Discoveries
  • BISAC2 : RELIGION / Antiquities & Archaeology
  • BISAC3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Adventurers & Explorers