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Cambridge University Library

Q&A

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Elyashiv Cherlow on Wed 21 Sep 2022

Elyashiv, what are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been looking at tiny fragments in T-S AS 96. One of my guilty pleasures is to look at Genizah fragments and try to identify them. I then look for other pieces that might go with the fragment I’m looking at. They often have very little connection to my research, so I will pass them onto other researchers. If I find anything connected to the Jerusalem Talmud – the Yerushalmi – I study them myself. While I was looking for something else in T-S AS 96, I found two tiny fragments in the language of the Jerusalem Talmud... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Jerusalem Talmud, parchment, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Gabriele Ferrario on Wed 6 Jul 2022

Gabriele, what are you working on at the moment?

I recently looked again at a manuscript I first noticed many years ago when I worked at the Genizah Unit. The fragments T-S Ar.44.4 and T-S NS 31.6 are two halves of the same page torn in two. The manuscript was studied by Paul Fenton in an article in 1997, and he identified it as a catalogue (Fihrist) of alchemical works. On close examination I discovered it was in fact a collection of alchemical recipes. What makes it special, compared to many other alchemical recipes in the Genizah, is that there are not... Read More

Has tags: alchemy, Genizah Fragments, Q&A, science

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Alan Elbaum on Wed 22 Jun 2022

Alan, which fragment are you looking at today?

My job description at the Princeton Geniza Project is to look at uncatalogued or minimally catalogued documentary fragments, and while looking for these I came across T-S NS J479, a single page covered with strange symbols written in all directions. I’ve probably glanced at around 50,000 Genizah fragments by now, and I’ve never seen anything that looks like this.

What is it? Which language is it?

Most of it is written in what I think is a made-up code, though whether it was invented or... Read More

Has tags: Arabic, cipher, Genizah Fragments, poetry, Q&A, Sufism

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Neriah Klein on Wed 27 Apr 2022

Neriah, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on several projects at the moment. I have a position at the Hebrew University Bible Project (HUBP), where I’m preparing the apparatus of textual variations found in Medieval Hebrew manuscripts of the book of Joshua. I’m also working with Prof. Yosef Ofer on the manuscript Sassoon 1053, making an edition of the Masora magna of the manuscript, as well as working on a book based on my PhD on Chronicles, and an article about leprosy in Leviticus.

You recently published an... Read More

Has tags: Bible, codex, Genizah Fragments, masora, Q&A, vocalisation

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Nehemia Gordon on Wed 13 Apr 2022

Nehemia, what are you working on today?

I’m a visiting scientist at the BAM Institute in Berlin (the Federal Institute for Research and Testing). One of the techniques they’ve developed is the use of a handheld device to distinguish between carbon and iron gall ink – the Dino-Lite. So, I’ve come to Cambridge University Library to look at a large number of Genizah Bible fragments – Torah scrolls, though not only – and I’m looking to see what the ink is: iron gall or carbon.

Are you hoping to tell from this when or where the manuscripts were written?... Read More

Has tags: Bible, codex, Firkovich, Genizah Fragments, ink, Karaite, Q&A, scribe, scroll, vocalisation

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Estara Arrant on Wed 16 Feb 2022

Estara, you finished your PhD in 2021 on ‘common’ Bibles in the Cairo Genizah. How did you get interested in this area?

It's a long story but I'll give you the highlights here. I have been interested in Hebrew codicology and palaeography, and Jewish-Muslim relations as seen in the Genizah since my undergraduate studies (in History and Modern Hebrew). I became particularly interested in Hebrew-Arabic-Aramaic language contact during my Master’s degree (in Islamic Studies and History), and in the development and codification of Jewish and Islamic scriptures during the... Read More

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

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Nick Posegay on Wed 9 Feb 2022

Nick, you’ve just finished working on a project examining different types of paper in the Genizah. Can you tell us about the project and about your role in it?

My work was part of a larger project called “Thinking Paper” that is led by Dr. Suzanne Paul here in the library and Dr. Orietta Da Rold in the Cambridge Faculty of English. The goal of the project is to understand the transition from parchment to paper usage in late medieval manuscript... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, paper, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Amir Ashur on Wed 2 Feb 2022

Amir, you made an exciting discovery last week. Can you tell us about it?

Yes! I'm describing some documents at the moment for the Princeton Geniza Project, and while going through some of the manuscripts of the Jewish Theological Seminary I encountered two fragments containing a long piyyut.

There are tens of thousands of these piyyutim – liturgical poems – in the Genizah, and they’re not your area of research. Why did this one catch your eye?

It was written by a hand very familiar to me. It was the handwriting of Halfon b. Nathaniel... Read More

Has tags: al-Andalus, Genizah Fragments, Jewish Theological Seminary, Judah ha-Levi, poetry, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Malachi Beit-Arié on Wed 26 Jan 2022

Malachi, your book Hebrew Codicology is a classic of the field, and you've recently completed the most up to date version yet. Will the latest Hebrew and English versions be the final versions of the book?

Yes. The Hebrew and English versions, published by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, are now final. They are distributed by Hamburg University with the Open Access DOIs: https://doi.org/10.25592/uhhfdm.8848 (Hebrew) and... Read More

Has tags: codex, Genizah Fragments, Hebrew, palaeography, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Sacha Stern on Wed 19 Jan 2022

Sacha, what are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been looking at a fragment in T-S NS 98 – it's full of calendar texts. This one is T-S NS 98.51. It’s extremely damaged and fragmentary. We’ll probably never find the rest of it, and the missing bits are almost certainly lost.

It’s a parchment fragment and looks quite old. How old is it?

I’m not an expert, but palaeographically speaking it looks to be from around the year 1000.

What is... Read More

Has tags: calendar, Christian, Genizah Fragments, Q&A

 

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