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Dr Ben Outhwaite has been Head of the Genizah Research Unit in Cambridge University Library since 2006, having worked for the previous seven years as a Genizah researcher.

Dr Outhwaite received a B.A. in Hebrew Studies and an M.Phil. in Medieval Hebrew literature from Christ's College, Cambridge. His Cambridge Ph.D. thesis, on the grammatical description of Hebrew letters in the Genizah, was completed under the supervision of Professor Geoffrey Khan.

Dr Outhwaite's research interests revolve around Hebrew and its use and transmission in the Middle Ages: the vocalisation traditions of Biblical (and post-biblical) Hebrew, the Medieval Hebrew language (particularly its use as a medium of communication throughout the early Middle Ages), the form and function of the medieval Hebrew Bible, and the documentary history of the communities who deposited manuscripts into the Cairo Genizah. His research projects have been funded by the AHRC, the British Academy, the Wellcome Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others, and he is a series editor for Brill’s ‘Cambridge Genizah Studies’ series.

Selected publications

‘Water and Prices: A View of the Nile from the Cairo Genizah’, in Katherine Blouin (ed.), The Nile Delta: Histories from Antiquity to the Modern Period (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2024), 453-465.

‘The Curious Case of the Corresponding Colophons in Codex Cairo 3’, in Vincent D. Beiler & Aaron D. Rubin (eds), Linguistic and Philological Studies of the Hebrew Bible and its Manuscripts in Honour of Gary A. Rendsburg (Brill, Leiden, 2023), 392–417

‘Fragments of the earliest complete Torah scroll in the Cairo Genizah?’, in P. Andrist, É. Attia and M. Maniaci (eds), From the Thames to the Euphrates: Intersecting Perspectives on Greek, Latin and Hebrew Bibles (Regards croisés sur les bibles grecques, latines et hébraïques), (De Gruyter: Berlin, Boston, 2023), 143–152

‘The Cairo Genizah’, in Katharine J. Dell, The Biblical World. 2nd edition (Routledge; London, 2021), 565–589

‘The Sefer Torah and Jewish Orthodoxy in the Islamic Middle Ages’, in B. Anderson (ed.), From Scrolls to Scrolling: Sacred Texts, Materiality, and Dynamic Media Cultures (De Gruyter, Berlin, 2020), 63–89

'The Tiberian Tradition in Common Bibles from the Genizah', in Aaron Hornkohl and Geoffrey Khan (eds), Studies in Semitic Vocalisation and Reading Traditions (Cambridge, 2020), 405–466

‘“Most of the haggadot are only opinions”: Cambridge University Library T-S Misc.35.14’, Jewish History (2019)

‘The Genizah as a source for Jewish history’, in Dean Phillip Bell (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Jewish History and Historiography (London and New York, 2018), 380–388

With Amir Ashur, ’A Jewish marriage deed from nineteenth-century Yemen’, Chroniques du manuscrit au Yémen 25 (2018), 40–52

‘Beyond the Leningrad Codex: Samuel b. Jacob in the Cairo Genizah’, in N. Vidro, R. Vollandt, E.-M. Wagner and J. Olszowy-Schlanger (eds), Studies in Semitic Linguistics and Manuscripts: A Liber Discipulorum in Honour of Professor Geoffrey Khan (University of Uppsala Press, Uppsala (2018), 320–340

With Esther-Miriam Wagner, ‘“These two lines...”: Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic letter-writing in the Classical Genizah Period’, in J. Cromwell and E. Grossman (eds), Beyond Free Variation: Scribal Repertoires from the Old Kingdom to Early Islamic Egypt (Oxford, 2018), 314–332

‘Schechter's eye for the extraordinary’Jewish Historical Studies 48.1 (2016), 34–45

With Amir Ashur ‘An eleventh-century pledge of allegiance to Egypt from the Jewish community of Yemen’, Chroniques du Manuscrit au Yémen 22 (2016), 34–48

‘A hoard of Hebrew MSS’, Limn 6 (2016), 6–10

With Christopher Stokoe and Gabriele Ferrario, In the shadow of Goitein: text mining the Cairo Genizah’, Manuscript Cultures 7 (2014), 29–34

With Amir Ashur, ‘Between Egypt and Yemen in the Cairo Genizah’Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 5.2–3 (2014), 198–219

‘Gaonic correspondence’ in G. Khan et al (ed.), Encyclopedia of Hebrew language and linguistics, vol. 2 G–O (Brill, Leiden, Boston, 2013), 2–6

‘Lines of communication: Medieval Hebrew letters of the 11th century’, in E-M. Wagner, B. Outhwaite and B. Beinhoff (eds), Scribes as agents of language change (De Gruyter, Berlin, 2013), 183–198

‘Clothed in Glory and Decked in Splendour’: Medieval Hebrew since the discovery of the Cairo GenizahBritish Association for Jewish Studies Bulletin 2012, 3–8

With Shmuel Glick et al, Seride Teshuvot: a descriptive catalogue of responsa fragments from the Jacques Mosseri Collection, Cambridge University Library (Brill, Leiden, 2012), 490 pp.

B. M. Outhwaite and S. Bhayro (eds), ‘From a sacred source’: Genizah studies in honour of Professor Stefan C. Reif (Cambridge Genizah Studies 1; Brill, Leiden 2010), 419 pp.

‘Byzantium and Byzantines in the Cairo Genizah: new and old sources’ in Nicholas de Lange, Julia Krivoruchko and Cameron Boyd-Taylor (eds), Proceedings of the International Colloquium on the Greek Bible in Byzantine Judaism (Tübingen, 2009), 182–220

‘A newly-discovered autograph fragment of Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed from the Cairo Genizah’ (with F. Niessen), Journal of Jewish Studies 57.2 (2006), 287–297

Hebrew Bible manuscripts in the Cambridge Genizah Collections. Volume 4: Taylor- Schechter Additional Series 32–225 (with M.C. Davis), Cambridge University Library Genizah Series 2 (CUP, 2003), 553 pp.

Hebrew Bible manuscripts in the Cambridge Genizah Collections. Volume 3: Taylor- Schechter Additional Series 1–31 (with M.C. Davis), Cambridge University Library Genizah Series 2 (CUP, 2003), 500 pp.

‘Karaite epistolary Hebrew: the letters of Ṭoviyyah ben Moshe’, in Geoffrey Khan (ed.), Exegesis and Grammar in Medieval Karaite Texts, Journal of Semitic Studies Supplement 13 (OUP, 2001), 195–234

Selected other stuff

‘Pirates of the Genizaaaar!’, Genizah Fragments Blog (September 2021)

‘Call the (medieval) Cheesemonger’, Genizah Fragments Blog (June 2021)

Genizah Research Unit's Fragment of the Month 'Bilingualism in Genizah Arabic poetry: T-S NS 108.60' (May 2021)

Genizah Research Unit's Fragment of the Month 'The letter of “The Convert”: T-S 16.100' (July 2020)

Genizah Research Unit's Fragment of the Month ‘Addressing the Rambam: JTS ENA 4020.56' (March 2020), with Amir Ashur

Genizah Research Unit’s Fragment of the Month ‘The letter for a man from somewhere: T-S 10J10.9’ (December 2019)

Genizah Research Unit's Fragment of the Month ‘The uncommon Bible: T-S AS 44.35’ (January 2019)

Genizah Research Unit’s Fragment of the Month ‘The first owners of the Leningrad Codex: T-S 10J30.7’ (November 2017)

Genizah Research Unit’s Fragment of the Month ‘T-S 18J3.9 the Ramla Earthquake: for this relief much thanks’ (August 2017)

Genizah Research Unit’s Fragment of the Month ‘Samuel ben Jacob: the Leningrad Codex B19a and T-S 10J5.15’ (January 2016)

Genizah Research Unit’s Fragment of the Month ’T-S NS 3.21: The oldest Hebrew fragment in the Collection?’ (November 2010)

Genizah Research Unit’s Fragment of the Month ‘St Augustine in the Cairo Genizah’ (May 2007)

Genizah Research Unit’s Fragment of the Month ‘Two new responsa of Moses Maimonides’ (April 2007)

With S. Paul, A. Fedeli and H. Houghton, Ghost Words: Reading the Past, exhibition catalogue (2021).

With M. Schmierer-Lee and C. Burgess, Discarded History: the Genizah of Medieval Cairo, exhibition catalogue (2017).

The Essay: Life in Fragments: Stories from the Cairo Genizah, BBC Radio 3, first broadcast May 2013

PhD thesis (2000): A descriptive grammar of the medieval Hebrew of the Cairo Geniza letters (doctoral thesis).