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By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Fri 13 May 2022

It's 13th May and Schechter Day: the anniversary of the identification of this fragment of Ben Sira on 13th May 1896, setting Solomon Schechter on course for Cairo. The rest, as they say, is history. Today we'll take a look at events in Cambridge a year later. 

The diaries of Francis Jenkinson, University Librarian 1889–1923, capture moments of chaos and drama in the early years of the Genizah in Cambridge. On 15th May 1897, only weeks into work on the fragments in Cambridge, tempers were short and... Read More

Has tags: Francis Jenkinson, Genizah Fragments, Solomon Schechter, Stefan Reif

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 5 May 2022

It’s 5th May 2022 and the Genizah Fragments blog is one year old! In the past 12 months we’ve had exactly 100 posts, including 37 interviews with researchers and 8 book announcements and reviews. Almost 22,000 page views later, let’s take a look at what people enjoyed reading. The blog post with the most views was by Shulamit Elizur, on children’s education, and the interview with... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments

 

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 on Thu 14 Apr 2022

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 55 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 2008, by Stefan C. Reif, Emeritus Professor of Medieval Hebrew at the University of Cambridge, and founder of the Genizah Research Unit:

At this time of the year, most Jewish families celebrate the first evening of Passover by recalling the biblical story of their ancestors’ exodus from Egypt at a domestic service called the seder (“order”), by way of a narrative... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, liturgy, Passover, Saadiah Gaon

 

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 on Tue 8 Mar 2022

In the Middle Ages, just like today, women face particular challenges when war arrives on their doorstep, and the Genizah has preserved unique testaments to the experiences of some of these women. Many, of course, found themselves refugees, arriving in a new city and dependent either on family or on the generosity of the local Jewish community. Women’s appeals to the community and the charitable disbursements made from public funds are perhaps where the plights of women fleeing war are most visible in the Genizah. That may be due to the circumstantial survival of documentation of this... Read More

Has tags: charity, Genizah Fragments, refugees, Women

 

By Ben Outhwaite on Wed 2 Mar 2022

The newly published article in the Journal of Semitic Studies by Dr Kim Phillips, ‘T-S A43.1+ and the Imitation of the Tiberian Reading Tradition’, is a significant piece of research whose title belies its potentially far-reaching repercussions for our understanding of the relationship between the Tiberian and the Palestinian (‘Eretz-Yisraeli’) reading traditions and their systems of vocalisation.

Kim’s article is just one of several that have been or soon will be published from his four-year Rothschild Foundation for Higher Education-funded... Read More

Has tags: article, Genizah Fragments, serugin, vocalisation

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 23 Feb 2022

As the eyes of the world turn to Ukraine, let’s take a look at the so-called ‘Kiev letter’ – a document that has been interpreted by many scholars as proof of the existence of a Jewish community in the Middle Ages in Khazaria (in what is now Ukraine). This 10th-century letter of introduction, written on a tightly folded piece of parchment, accredits Jacob son of Hanukkah in his efforts to raise money to free himself of debt. Jacob – described as generous and of a good family – fell into difficulties when his brother borrowed money from gentiles and was then robbed and slain by brigands.... Read More

Has tags: charity, Genizah Fragments, Kiev

 

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 on Thu 10 Feb 2022

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 68 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 2014, by Blanca Villuendas Sabaté:

Although Genizah manuscripts are regarded as one of the most relevant sources for social history, divinatory fragments have often been overlooked. They mirror the innermost worries, hopes and fears of the users, thus offering a unique insight to the Genizah society. Medieval peoples’ desire to know about the future was no less intense than... Read More

Has tags: divination, Genizah Fragments, geomancy, magic

 

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