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Cambridge University Library

Q&A

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

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Rebecca Jefferson on Wed 22 Dec 2021

Rebecca, you have a new book coming out in February 2022. What’s it about, and how did you come to be interested in it?

The book, The Cairo Genizah and the Age of Discovery in Egypt: the History and Provenance of a Jewish Archive (I. B. Tauris, 2022), solely focuses on what we now call the ‘discovery of the Cairo Genizah’. It attempts to tell the provenance stories of the many other Genizah collections around the world whose stories have not been told as fully as that of Cambridge’s Taylor-Schechter collection. My interest in it began when I started working... Read More

Has tags: Adolf Neubauer, Bodleian, Count d'Hulst, David Kaufmann, Elkan Nathan Adler, Genizah Fragments, Greville Chester, Mordechai Adelmann, Moses Shapira, Mosseri, Q&A, Rabbi Ben-Shim'on, Samuel Raffalovich, Solomon Schechter, Solomon Wertheimer, Yemen

 

By Ben Outhwaite and Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 8 Dec 2021

Mel, what are you working on today?

I’ve been reading through a folder of correspondence between Cambridge and the Jewish Theological Seminary covering quite a few decades in the 20th century. I can’t really call it work though – it’s more like snooping. The letters and other documentation are about 251 Genizah fragments which Schechter took with him to America in 1902, when he departed Cambridge to become President of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He wanted to continue working on the fragments, and Cambridge agreed to let him borrow them for a period of time.... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Jewish Theological Seminary, Q&A, Solomon Schechter

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Gary Rendsburg on Wed 1 Dec 2021

Gary, you’ve recently created a website dedicated to the life of Obadiah/Johannes of Oppido and his conversion to Judaism in the Middle Ages. How did you become interested in the manuscripts associated with Obadiah?

I actually do not recall the specific moment, but I can tell you that several lines converged: a) as I began to read more and more about medieval history, especially in the light of new research, including by my colleague Paola Tartakoff, I realized that conversion from Judaism to Christianity... Read More

Has tags: conversion, Genizah Fragments, Karaite, Q&A

 

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