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Calendar Fragments as a Tool for Palaeography

The objective of this project, funded by the British Academy, was to assemble, date and present on a timeline a corpus of datable fragments on the Jewish calendar, to serve as a tool for paleography. While calendar fragments are rarely explicity dated, they can usually be assigned to a relatively short period of time, and can thus be added to the corpus of datable material, allowing us to use their script for palaeographic comparison. Dr Nadia Vidro assembled and analysed this corpus over a two-year project, 2018–20.


The Bible of the Land of Israel

This is a four-year project investigating all the Bible manuscripts in the Cambridge Genizah Collection that are vocalised with the Palestinian vocalisation system (Niqqud Ereṣ-Yisraʾeli). The project will produce a new typology of text types for the Bibles vocalised with this enigmatic system and add detailed descriptions of all relevant manuscripts to Cambridge Digital Library.


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.


Discovering history in the Cairo Genizah (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)

This project employed 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 were 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, making best use of over 100 years of published scholarship on the Collection.

Mellon Foundation logo


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 identified, collated, and classified 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 has made 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 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, filling a gap in existing research on the historical Genizah and opening up further lines of inquiry in the fields of gender studies and comparative law. The post-holder was Dr Zvi Stampfer.


Bibliography of the Cambridge Genizah Collections

A complete bibliography of the Cambridge Genizah Collections is maintained by the Genizah Research Unit, 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.