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Cambridge University Library

Q&A

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Catherine Ansorge on Wed 19 Oct 2022

Catherine, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing about the Rosetta Stone and a connection it has to Cambridge, dating from the time it was originally shipped from Alexandria to London in 1801. The British Museum’s current exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the decipherment of hieroglyphs by Jean-Francois Champollion from the text on the Stone, provides a good opportunity to investigate this further.

We’ll look forward... Read More

Has tags: Agnes Lewis, Egypt, Genizah Fragments, Lewis-Gibson, Margaret Gibson, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and José Martínez Delgado on Wed 12 Oct 2022

Pepe, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a new book about daily life in al-Andalus, and I’ve been looking for new materials to include in it. I decided to have a look at a list I made when I visited 6 years ago of lexicographical Genizah fragments, to see if any of them might be suitable for the book, and saw in my list one I had described as ‘Andalusi script’. I had a look at it and something about it seemed familiar. At the last line, I realised what I was looking at. I had seen this handwriting before. I quickly sent a message to my friend Amir... Read More

Has tags: al-Andalus, Genizah Fragments, glossary, language, Moses Maimonides, Q&A, Romance, vocabulary

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Jason Sion Mokhtarian on Wed 5 Oct 2022

Jason, your new book, Medicine in the Talmud, has just been published. Can you tell us about some of the Genizah fragments you used in your research?  

To the best of my knowledge, there aren’t many Genizah fragments that record Talmudic medicine, but one such fragment is T-S F1(1).31, a page of the Babylonian Talmud from tractate Gittin. Five other pages from the... Read More

Has tags: Babylonian Talmud, Genizah Fragments, medical, 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

 

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