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Cambridge University Library

Q&A

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee, Haru Shimada, and Amir Ashur on Wed 27 Oct 2021

Haru, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on T-S 8.12. It is a letter between two traders, and reveals much about the activities of the merchants at this time, in particular their trading networks and how these functioned. I’m looking at this manuscript because in November I will be giving an introductory lecture to my students, and this letter offers a good example of the kinds of trader letter we find in the Genizah.

How many students do you have?... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Japan, letter, Q&A, trade

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Miriam Goldstein on Wed 20 Oct 2021

Miriam, what are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just finished a book devoted to the Judaeo-Arabic versions of the Helene narrative of Toledot Yeshu.

You gave a talk on Toledot Yeshu in Toronto at the end of 2019 (it’s available to watch now on YouTube). That must have been one of your last trips abroad before the pandemic took hold.

Yes! I did manage to participate in a conference in February 2020 but that one was in Jerusalem and then our world changed.... Read More

Has tags: Christian, Genizah Fragments, Jesus, Muslim-Jewish relations, polemic, Q&A, Toledot Yeshu

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Ben Outhwaite on Wed 13 Oct 2021

Ben, what have you been up to?

The most exciting recent thing is that we have now returned to the office, after more than 18 months of mostly working at home. Things aren’t quite back to normal – we still wear masks in public areas, the UL is much quieter than it usually is, and they’ve closed the tearoom!!! – but we’re getting there.

Yes, the UL isn’t the same without a place to sip mediocre coffee and discuss medieval manuscripts, is it? Speaking of manuscripts, what are you working on at the moment?

We’ve just come to the end of a... Read More

Has tags: Abraham Maimonides, Genizah Fragments, mastara, Mosseri, Q&A, responsa

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Marina Pelissari on Wed 6 Oct 2021

Marina, what are you working on today?

I’m one month into a nine-month project to prepare the final housings for the Cambridge part of the Lewis-Gibson Genizah collection. These manuscripts were originally collected by Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson, and were donated by them to Westminster College. In 2013 Cambridge and Oxford jointly bought the manuscripts, and half have now been sent to Oxford. The Cambridge fragments have already been conserved and encapsulated in Melinex – an archival plastic – but they are now being bound into books. Today, I’m working on... Read More

Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments, Lewis-Gibson, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Vince Beiler on Wed 29 Sep 2021

Vince, what are you working on at the moment? 

Right now, I’m going through several hundred classmarks in the Firkovich II B collection, looking for joins between manuscripts. These are biblical manuscripts acquired by the noted Crimean Karaite collector Abraham Firkovich in the 19th century and subsequently sold to the Russian National Library in St Petersburg. While the classmarks collected by Firkovich number nearly 15,000, the II B collection is nearly one-tenth of that size, containing some 1,500 classmarks, many of which are Bibles that date to the 10th–13th... Read More

Has tags: Bible, Firkovich, Genizah Fragments, masora, Q&A

 

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.... Read More

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

 

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... Read More

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

 

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... Read More

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

 

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,... Read More

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

 

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... Read More

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

 

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