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By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Nadia Vidro on Wed 16 Jun 2021

Nadia, which fragment are you working on today?

I am working on T-S AS 158.147. It’s a fragment of a Karaite calendar chronicle for the end of 410–418 AH (1020–1028 CE). I’m looking at it as part of the project ‘Qaraite and Rabbanite calendars: origins, interaction, and polemic’, funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. It is a joint project between UCL and LMU (Munich).

What are the key things... Read More

Has tags: calendar, chronicle, Firkovich, Genizah Fragments, Karaite, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 10 Jun 2021

Nick Posegay's article 'Sticking to the Script: How an incredible journey of Hebrew letters helps us recall the Arabic language' has just appeared in The Scholar, an annual magazine for Gates Cambridge scholars and alumni. Nick's article tells the Genizah story to a general audience through the lens of T-S Ar.5.58, a leaf from a Bible glossary with the vocabulary for a portion of 1 Samuel:

"The scribe’s booklet was... Read More

Has tags: article, Bible, Genizah Fragments, glossary

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 10 Jun 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from our Fragment of the Month in September 2007, by our late colleague Friedrich Niessen and Gideon Bohak:

‘Take a plate of lead and write on it in the first hour of the day; bury it in a new grave which is three days old’. Thus starts a Judaeo-Arabic instruction preserved in the Additional Series (... Read More

Has tags: curse, Genizah Fragments, magic

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Mohamed Ahmed on Wed 9 Jun 2021

Hi Mohamed, which manuscript are you working on today?

I’m working on T-S Ar.42.8. It’s a fragment in Arabic script by an unidentified author and scribe.

Can you tell me about it?

It’s a fragment of a work on poetics, covering the subject of prosody in Classical Arabic poetry and mentioning famous Arabic poetic scholars, such as al-Ḵalīl and al-Aḵṭal. The recto... Read More

Has tags: Arabic, Genizah Fragments, literature, poetry, Q&A

 

By Amir Ashur on Wed 9 Jun 2021

A new article in the Guardian (‘Unchain your wife’: the Orthodox women shining a light on ‘get’ refusal) raises the issue of Jewish women who are chained – that is, unable to get remarried although they have been left by their husbands. According to Jewish law, a divorce is not complete until the husband, willingly, gives his wife a get – a formal bill of divorce – written in accordance with very strict rules. A slight error, even in one word or letter, can make... Read More

Has tags: agunah, divorce, Genizah Fragments, get, get refusal, marriage

 

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

 

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