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T-S K2.96
Detail from T-S K2.96 (verso): a petition to Saladin reused for a work on the Hebrew calendar.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 23 Sep 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issues 10 and 11 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1985 and April 1986, by Geoffrey Khan while he was a Research Associate in the GRU:

The vast majority of Genizah fragments are written in Hebrew characters. This is not surprising, since reverence for the Hebrew script was the chief motivation for placing manuscripts in the Genizah. The language of well over half of them,...

Has tags: Arabic, Fatimid, Genizah Fragments, legal, Muslim-Jewish relations, petition


T-S 8Ka10.2
T-S 8Ka10.2 f. 3v: Saadiah's work Kitāb al-Tamyīz is mentioned in the last line of this fragment.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Nadia Vidro on Wed 22 Sep 2021

Nadia, you’re starting a new project today. Can you tell us about it?

This new project, entitled “Saadya Gaon’s works on the Jewish calendar: Near Eastern sources and transmission to the West”, is a collaboration between UCL, London and LMU, Munich, and is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. The project is led by Professors Sacha Stern and Ronny Vollandt, with me as the research associate.

Saadiah b. Joseph al-Fayyūmī, better known as Saadiah Gaon (882–942 CE), was the most important and influential scholar of Judaeo-Arabic culture in the 10th century....


Has tags: calendar, Firkovitch, Genizah Fragments, Karaite, Q&A, Saadiah Gaon


T-S 13J20.25
T-S 13J20.25 (recto): negotiations with Bedouin pirates
By Ben Outhwaite on Sun 19 Sep 2021

When you took to the high seas in the Middle Ages it was a calculated risk, but quite a considerable one. You were at the mercy of the weather, the seaworthiness of your chosen vessel, the reliability of its captain, his crew and your fellow travellers, and of the intentions of other seafarers you might encounter on your voyage. The poet Judah ha-Levi, who sailed from Spain to Egypt in the 12th century, described it unsettlingly:

‘Greetings from a prisoner of hope, who sold himself to the sea and put his spirit in the power of the winds. Shoved by the west wind eastward, then...

Has tags: captives, charity, Genizah Fragments, pirates, sea, travel


Hosea fragments
This leaf of the commentary was pieced together from four separate fragments: T-S NS 261.11, T-S NS 261.38, T-S NS 241.18 and, the thin strip on the left, from T-S NS 261.59.
By Joseph Habib on Fri 17 Sep 2021

An Anonymous Karaite Commentary on Hosea from the Cairo Genizah ● By Friedrich Niessen ● Cambridge Genizah Studies Series, Volume 13 ● Brill 2021

In his preface to his commentary on the book of Hosea, St. Jerome, one of the greatest Biblical scholars of his time (5th century C.E.), wrote desperately,

If, in the exposition of all the prophets, we need the Holy Spirit’s intervention in order that — by whose inspiration they were written — they may be explained through...

Has tags: Bible, Book, commentary, Genizah Fragments, Karaite


T-S K23.3
T-S K23.3 P2 (recto): Palimpsest of the magical work Sefer ha-Razim written over a ketubba. 10th-11th century.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 16 Sep 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issues 8 and 9 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1984 and April 1985, by Shaul Shaked:

Among their varied treasures, the Cairo Genizah collections contain valuable materials for the study of a number of fields of Jewish and general interest for which they have, until now, hardly been used at all. Among these fields are Judaeo-Persian texts and magic fragments and it was to...

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Karaite, magic, mystical, palimpsest, Persian


T-S 10J7.10
T-S 10J7.10 f. 2v: court deposition about al-Wuhsha's affair with Hassun
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 15 Sep 2021

At sundown today, Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement – begins. It’s a day for fasting, repentance, and forgiveness. And over 900 years ago it was a day to teach a wealthy woman a lesson through public humiliation. Part of T-S 10J7.10 is a deposition to the court about Karima daughter of ‘Ammar, known to all as al-Wuhsha ‘the broker’. Documents in the Genizah have recorded the commercial and private affairs of al-Wuhsha, including her love affair with a married man, Hassun from Ashkelon, which...


Has tags: al-Wuhsha, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, legal, Yom Kippur


T-S Misc. 35.65
T-S Misc. 35.65 (recto): a leaf from the maqama collection Maḥberot Eitan ha-Ezraḥi
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Michael Rand on Wed 15 Sep 2021

Michael, what are you working on at the moment?

I’ve recently finished a book (Studies in the Medieval Hebrew Tradition of the Ḥarīrīan and Ḥarizian Maqama) on what, for lack of a better word, we can call the “classical” maqama. A maqama is a rhymed-prose narrative into which poems are inserted. The sorts of maqamas on which I am working are called picaresque maqamas, as they involve the adventures of a narrator and a hero. Picaresque maqamas went into the makeup of...


Has tags: Arabic, Genizah Fragments, literature, mamluk, poetry, Q&A, theatre


T-S NS 188.20
T-S NS 188.20 (verso): a Samaritan legend in Judaeo-Arabic discovered by Dr Friedrich Niessen, of the T-S Unit
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 9 Sep 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 40 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 2000, by our late colleague Friedrich Niessen:

A passage in II Samuel 10:15–19 deals with David’s campaign against the Aramean king, Hadadezer, and Shovakh, the commander of his army. This is the only context in which the name Shovakh appears in the Bible in such a form. A different person with the same name occurs in a traditional Jewish legend, which relates that after the conquest of...

Has tags: Bible, chronicle, Genizah Fragments, Samaritan


T-S K7.16
T-S K7.16 (recto): a Judaeo-Greek glossary to the Mishnah
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Julia Krivoruchko on Wed 8 Sep 2021

Julia, what are you working on today?

I’m re-examining T-S K7.16 – it’s a manuscript that I worked on a long time ago. It’s a long glossary with more than a hundred glosses. It was published by Nicholas de Lange and republished subsequently, but there’s more to say about it. My current draft of this...


Has tags: Genizah Fragments, glossary, Greek, language, Mishnah, Q&A


T-S Ar.43.208
T-S Ar.43.208 P3 (recto): a leaf from 'Obadyah Maimuni's "Treatise of the Pool" (al-Maqāla al-Ḥawḍiyya)
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 2 Sep 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 4 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1982:

The Genizah has proved to be a mine of biographical information about the scholars of mediaeval Egypt, especially of the Maimonides family who were leaders of Egyptian Jewry for over 200 years. Indeed, communal and literary documents have come to light which testify to the sustained intellectual activity of Oriental Jewry’s most illustrious family.
Dr Paul Fenton,...

Has tags: Abraham Maimonides, Genizah Fragments, Moses Maimonides, mystical, Sufism


T-S Misc. 9.94
T-S Misc. 9.94 (recto)
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Marc Michaels on Wed 1 Sep 2021

Marc, what are you working on today?

Today I'm actually writing a couple of gittin (divorce documents), but I'm also working on two articles, one specifically related to my PhD (on Sefer Tagin) and one looking at special scribal practices in Megillat Esther. The first article deals with transmission of the text, and includes a new Genizah fragment that is a further part of the fragments I covered in my recent book Sefer Tagin Fragments from the Cairo Genizah A Critical Edition,...


Has tags: Genizah Fragments, palaeography, Q&A, scribe


T-S A43.6
T-S A43.6 P1 (recto): part of a shorthand Psalter.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Kim Phillips on Wed 25 Aug 2021

Kim, what are you working on today?

I’m working on T-S A43.6, and its associated fragments. They are a Shorthand Bible, or a Psalter, to be more precise.

A Shorthand Bible – is this the same as a Serugin manuscript?

Sort of. For the past too-long I’ve been looking at the different ways the mediaeval Jewish community in Fustat produced Bibles (or parts of Bibles) written in abbreviated form. It turns out there are three basic ways they did it: sometimes they just wrote the initial word, or few words, of a given verse, then the same for...


Has tags: Bible, codex, Genizah Fragments, Q&A, serugin


T-S AS 213.20
T-S AS 213.20 (recto): a Christian hymnary for a Feast of Mary
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 19 Aug 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 6 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1983, by Sebastian Brock:

That the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection contains a smattering of Christian texts has long been known. Written mainly in Christian Palestinian Aramaic but also in Coptic, Georgian, Greek, Latin and Syriac, these are all to be found in manuscripts technically known as palimpsests. Such manuscripts consist of parchment leaves whose original writing (in this case...

Has tags: Christian, Genizah Fragments, Syriac


T-S 16.75
T-S 16.75 (recto): part of a ketubba written by Yefet b. David.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Zina Cohen on Wed 18 Aug 2021

Zina, you have a new book coming out soon about inks in Genizah manuscripts. How did your interest in the fragments come about?

I have a Masters in archaeology, but have always been interested in science. I came to be interested in archaeometry – science applied to archaeology. During my Masters degree I worked on an Islamic complex in Morocco dating to the 14th century, analysing the mortar to try to understand if there were strategies involved in preparing the mortar. My main subject of interest, though, was manuscripts and pigments, and I planned to continue my...


Has tags: Genizah Fragments, ink, ketubba, Moses Maimonides, paper, Q&A, scribe


Genizah crate of manuscripts
Stefan Reif shows a crate of manuscripts to visitors (Israeli Ambassador, Yehuda Avner, and Eli Rosen, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs)
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 12 Aug 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 28 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1994, by J.D. Pearson, Emeritus Professor of Bibliography at the University of London. He recalls his days as a young man in Cambridge, fetching manuscripts, encountering Genizah researchers, and battling the smells of the fragments:

Having joined the Library staff as a “boy” (today called an assistant) in 1928, at the age of sixteen, I became acquainted with the documents...


Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments


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