Conservation of the Lewis-Gibson Collection
The Lewis-Gibson (formerly Westminster) Collection was purchased jointly by the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and Cambridge University Library in 2013. The fragments are currently undergoing conservation, which includes removing them from their nineteenth-century bindings (which obscure text and restrict movement) and they will be digitised and made freely available online in the summer of 2015.
Pilot Bible project
The most celebrated medieval codices of the Hebrew Bible and the best representatives of the Tiberian Masoretic tradition – Aleppo, Leningrad B19a, the Cairo Codex of the Prophets – are contemporary with many of the leaves of Bibles found in the Genizah. Indeed, there are leaves from Bibles every bit as important as these texts to be found there. This project aims to establish the criteria to identify such leaves, and to find and classify them for the book of Exodus, by a careful study of the large format, multi-column Bible leaves in the Taylor-Schechter and Lewis-Gibson Collections. The ultimate goal is to provide a wealth of new sources for the text-critical study of the Hebrew Bible within the Tiberian tradition.
This project employs novel techniques to aid in the cataloguing and digital curation of the Cambridge Genizah Collections. By text mining citation information in a corpus of over 40 scholarly works published over the last century, key terms as well as names, dates and places are automatically associated with each fragment mentioned in the mined literature. In the absence of full text transcription and translation, text mining can be used as an automated basis for analysing and searching the Genizah Collections, and making best use of over 100 years of published scholarship on the Collection.
Maimonides in the Genizah (Leverhulme Trust disbursed through the British Academy’s Small Grant scheme)
The intellectual output of Moses Maimonides is scattered throughout the Genizah, including drafts of his written works and documentary sources relating to his life and position as a pillar of the Jewish community. While previous discoveries amongst the fragments have relied on chance and serendipity, this project will identify, collate, and classify all fragments relating to Maimonides by a systematic search of the entire Genizah.
Medicine in medieval Egypt: creating online access to the medical corpus of the Cairo Genizah (Wellcome Trust Research Resources Award)
Among the 2,000 Genizah manuscript fragments that are relevant to the study of medieval medicine, including a large number of Judaeo-Arabic renditions of Arabic translations of Greek medical texts and of Arabic medical works, the Genizah preserves numerous prescriptions, druggists’ notes, and lists of materia medica, that shed light on the common ailments and the actual cures prescribed by medieval physicians. Building upon previous work on the Collections, most notably Haskell D. Isaac’s printed 1994 catalogue, this project will make the medical corpus of the Cairo Genizah freely available through Cambridge University’s digital library platform, in the form of an updated and highly detailed electronic catalogue of all the items of medical content alongside images of the manuscripts themselves.
The social history of women in the Genizah (Parasol Foundation)
This 1-year funded post has allowed a researcher to come to Cambridge to research gender and family law as presented in the Judaeo-Arabic judicial works in the Cairo Genizah. This fills a gap in existing research on the historical Genizah and opens up further lines of inquiry in the fields of gender studies and comparative law. The post-holder is Dr Zvi Stampfer.
Bibliography of the Cambridge Genizah Collections
The Friedberg Genizah Project supports the production of a complete bibliography of the Cambridge Genizah Collections, which has been amassing bibliographic data since the 1970s. Currently, the bibliography consists of more than 70,000 entries from research works, ca. 53,000 entries from catalogues and descriptive sources in English, Hebrew, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Turkish, etc.