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Cambridge University Library

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: (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 Shulamit Elizur on Tue 18 Jan 2022

How was writing in Hebrew practised in the Middle Ages? A glance at the discoveries from the Cairo Genizah supplies the answer and also reveals that little has changed over the years.

How do children practise writing the alphabet? By writing each new letter, one at a time, over and over again, of course. This is common practice today and it was common practice back in the Middle Ages. There are several pages preserved in the Cairo Genizah that contain these kinds of children’s writing exercises, from about a thousand years ago.

... Read More

Has tags: education, Genizah Fragments


By Ben Outhwaite on Fri 14 Jan 2022

Thabit ibn Qurra On Talismans and Ps.-Ptolemy On Images 1-9. Together with the Liber prestigiorum Thebidis of Adelard of Bath ● By Gideon Bohak and Charles Burnett ● Sismel, 2021

Not everyone can claim to have looked at every single item in the Taylor-Schechter Collection. Even after a quarter of a century working on the Genizah, I’m not sure I’ve... Read More

Has tags: Book, Genizah Fragments, magic


By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 13 Jan 2022

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 27 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 1994, by Uwe Glessmer of the University of Hamburg:

With Heinz Fahr, I have published an edition of T-S B13.12, entitled Jordandurchzug und Beschneidung als Zurechtweisung in einem Targum zu Josua 5, which appears as No. 3 in the Orientalia Biblica et Christiana series published by J. J. Augustin (Glückstadt, 1991).
The manuscript T-S B13.... Read More

Has tags: Bible, circumcision, Genizah Fragments, Targum


By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 12 Jan 2022

125 years ago today, Solomon Schechter sat down to write this letter to his colleague and friend Francis Jenkinson, the University Librarian. Three weeks ago he had arrived in Egypt, made the acquaintance of Chief Rabbi Ben Shim'on, and started to delve into the contents of the Ben Ezra Synagogue's genizah. Schechter writes to Jenkinson describing his work in the dusty, insect-infested chamber and his dealings with the local men who were assisting him ('I have constantly to bakeshish them'). Interestingly, he first mentions working on 'the Genizas' (plural), before then describing 'the... Read More

Has tags: Francis Jenkinson, Genizah Fragments, Solomon Schechter


By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Fri 7 Jan 2022

Points of Contact: The Shared Intellectual History of Vocalisation in Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew ● By Nick Posegay ● Open Book Publishers, 2021

This book is the newest entry in the Cambridge Semitic Languages and Cultures series, and it is authored by the Genizah Research Unit's very own Nick Posegay. It investigates the shared history of ideas behind the vocalisation systems of three medieval Semitic languages, examining the work of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars as they developed ways to... Read More

Has tags: Arabic, Bible, Book, Genizah Fragments, grammar, masora, Qurʾan, Syriac, vocalisation


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 Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 15 Dec 2021

On 15 December, 1898, the official thanks of the University of Cambridge for the gift of the Genizah Collection were conveyed to the Jewish community of Cairo by the University Orator in the Senate House. The original text was in Latin, but a Hebrew version was prepared and sent to Cairo with the original. An English edition then appeared in the Jewish Chronicle of 30 December, 1898.

To the Heads of the Jewish Community in Cairo:
We offer you our thanks, not only on account of the singular goodwill with which you received our Reader in Rabbinic, but also on... Read More

Has tags: Egypt, Genizah Fragments, Rabbi Ben-Shim'on, Solomon Schechter


By Kim Phillips on Tue 14 Dec 2021

Studies in Hebrew Linguistics and Masora ● By Aron Dotan ● Asupport 20 ● Bialik Institute, 2021

This volume collects together 35 articles from the full range of Aron Dotan’s scholarly interests. The original publications span more than fifty years: the earliest having first appeared back in 1965, while the most recent is the one hitherto unpublished article appearing for the first time in this volume. The articles are arranged... Read More

Has tags: Book, Genizah Fragments, Hebrew, language, masora


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