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By Ben Outhwaite on Fri 4 Jun 2021

On this National Cheese Day, I thought I would take a look at what traces of cheese we can find among the documents in Cambridge Digital Library. Cheese is mentioned frequently in the Genizah world, as it was a mainstay of the medieval diet: milk could not be preserved, and so most dairy was consumed in the form of various kinds of cheese, hard and soft, salted, brined or fresh. It was popular throughout the Genizah world and in Egypt it was a favourite food of both the poorest and the richest sections of society. The Baḥrī Mamlūk sultan an-Naṣīr Muḥammad (d. 1341 CE), for instance, was... Read More

Has tags: cheese, dairy, Genizah Fragments, kashrut, kosher

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 3 Jun 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 49 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 2005, by Avi Shivtiel:

A number of talmudic sages seem to have favoured the learning of languages, since the Talmud records several statements to the effect that this was a skill to be encouraged among scholars.

An early and important midrash claims that God gave the Torah to Israel in four languages - Hebrew, Latin, Arabic and Aramaic (Sifrey, Ve-Zot Ha-... Read More

Has tags: Armenian, Avi Shivtiel, Genizah Fragments, language, list, Romance, vocabulary

 

By Ben Outhwaite and Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 2 Jun 2021

So, Mel, tell me what are you working on today?

I’m writing a catalogue entry for T-S NS J378. It’s an easy one to do, because — helpfully — several other people have already translated it: Goitein, Gershon Weiss, and Amir Ashur. We still need a catalogue entry for it, though, for Cambridge Digital Library, so I’m writing that. It’s a betrothal agreement, written by our favourite court scribe, Halfon ben Manasseh. The date isn’t preserved, but because we know Halfon’s handwriting, we... Read More

Has tags: betrothal, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, legal, marriage, Q&A

 

By Magdalen M. Connolly on Wed 2 Jun 2021

It has long been customary in both Genizah studies and Arabic codicology to describe the numerals frequently found in documentary texts as ‘Coptic’.[1] Recent work has shown that these curvilinear numerals may better be termed ḥurūf al-zimām (‘the letters of accounts/registers’) or ‘zimām numerals’ (Chrisomalis, 2010). In what follows, I will give a (very) brief overview of the Coptic alphabetic numerical system, ḥurūf al-zimām, and the related Mozarabic/Toledan and Rūmī/Fāsī numerals to explain why the Genizah Research Unit will be adopting this more accurate terminology in future... Read More

Has tags: accounts, Coptic, Genizah Fragments, numerals

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 27 May 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 63 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 2012, by the conservator Lucy Cheng:

Mosseri IXa.1.28 is a paper fragment, which was crumpled and exposed to dust due to less than ideal storage in the past. After testing the stability of the inks, the fragment was cleaned by gentle brushing, and encrustation of dirt or dust was broken down with pressure from a small spatula and the debris brushed away. To... Read More

Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments, Mosseri

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Amir Ashur on Wed 26 May 2021

Amir, which manuscripts are you working on today?

I'm actually working on dozens of manuscripts relating to Abraham Maimuni, as part of a project led by Mordechai Akiva Friedman. Right now, I’m looking at T-S 10K8.9, T-S 12.205, T-S 13J9.11, T-S 13J26.21 verso, T-S NS 100.74, T-S Ar.18(2).73, T-S AS... Read More

Has tags: Abraham Maimonides, debt, Genizah Fragments, legal, Mordechai Akiva Friedman, Q&A, responsa

 

By Sarah Sykes on Wed 26 May 2021

Scattered through the many Genizah manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah are doodles and page decorations, drawings and designs. When studying and cataloguing thousands of pages of text you will only come across these pictures on occasion, and often, if you are busy deciphering the handwriting and identifying the author, the pictures can be an interesting sideline, a bit of light-hearted amusement or only given a brief glance.

Now, however, Pinar Zararsiz, during her internship (2019-2020) at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, has gathered together many, and a wide variety of, examples... Read More

Has tags: drawing, exhibition, Genizah Fragments

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 20 May 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 41 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 2001, by Erica C.D. Hunter and Friedrich Niessen:

In 1980, in the fourth volume of A Mediterranean Society, page 467, S. D. Goitein noted that T-S NS J390 (23.5 x 11.7 cms) and T-S 13J7.8 (27.4 x 6.5 cms) could... Read More

Has tags: Christian, dowry, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, marriage, Peshitta, Syriac, trousseau

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Magdalen Connolly on Wed 19 May 2021

Magdalen - which manuscript are you working on today?

This morning I’m working on fragments from the T-S NS 305 and NS 306 sections of the collection, which contain mainly Arabic-script material of a wide variety of genres. In particular, I’ve been looking at an Arabic-script fragment (T-S NS 306.13), which contains part of Qiṣṣat al-Jumjuma (‘The Story of the Skull’). This story is found fairly frequently in the Cairo Genizah collections in Judaeo-Arabic (e.g., T-S Ar.37.39 and JTS ENA 1275.5, 12, 13, ENA 2700.48, and ENA 3239.34). This fragment is particularly... Read More

Has tags: Arabic, Genizah Fragments, literary, Q&A, tale

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Fri 14 May 2021

The items in this shopping list reveal the careful planning and budgeting needed to celebrate the festival of Shavuot in style. First published by S.D. Goitein (Med. Soc IV, pp. 230-231), this fragment (T-S NS J437) dates to the 13th century, and may have been written by the court scribe Solomon b. Elijah. It includes (for Friday): little chickens, meat, a pound of fat tail, a hen, garden mallow, cubeb and garlic, two measures of sesame oil, eggplants; and (for Saturday): a lemon hen, chard, onions, safflower... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Goitein, Shavuot

 

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