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The Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection is a window on the medieval world and has been colourfully described as ‘a refuge for writings’ and ‘a battlefield of books’. Its 193,000 manuscript fragments, mainly in Hebrew, Judaeo-Arabic, Aramaic and Arabic, are an unparalleled resource for the academic study of Judaism, Jewish history and the wider economic and social history of the Mediterranean and Near East in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. They shed light on the mundane as well as the religious and cultural activities of that world, since the Collection preserves a huge number of personal letters, legal deeds and other documents, alongside literary and sacred texts.

The manuscripts were recovered from the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, Old Cairo, in 1896–7 by the enterprising Cambridge scholar Solomon Schechter with help from his colleague Charles Taylor. In the 1970s Cambridge University Library established the Genizah Research Unit to carry out a comprehensive program of conservation, cataloguing and research on the manuscripts, which is leading to all manner of important discoveries about Jewish religious, communal and personal life, Hebrew and Arabic literary traditions, and relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians from as early as the ninth and tenth centuries CE. The Genizah Research Unit relies upon external support for its projects.

 

Thinking about visiting the Library to consult or view the Collection? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page first.

High-resolution images and detailed descriptions of more than 21,000 Genizah fragments from our Collections are now available on the Genizah section of Cambridge University Digital Library. Hundreds of new fragments are uploaded each month. Click here to see them.

The latest issue (October 2017) of Genizah Fragments, the Unit’s twice-yearly newsletter, is now available to read and download here.

In June 2018's Fragment of the Month we hear about the Islamic Genizah of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.

Have you found our website or bibliography useful? Would you like to make a one-off or regular donation to further Genizah research and the production of online Genizah resources at Cambridge? Give a single gift securely online or join the Friends of the Genizah to give regular support. 

 

Genizah Research Unit

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Contact the Unit

Dr Ben Outhwaite
Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit
Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge
CB3 9DR

Tel: +44 (0)1223 333129
Fax: +44 (0)1223 333160

E-mail: genizah@lib.cam.ac.uk

 


Support the Genizah Unit

Make a one-off donation to the Genizah Research Unit or join the Friends of the Genizah to give regular support. 

 


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