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T-S NS 163.57
T-S NS 163.57: A Judaeo-Romance/Judaeo-Arabic word list written by the Rambam.
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...


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


T-S F1(1).31
T-S F1(1).31 (recto): page from BT Gittin, containing the Gittin Book of Remedies. Ca. 10th century, Syria-Palestine.
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...


Has tags: Babylonian Talmud, Genizah Fragments, medical, Q&A


T-S AS 96.273
Minute fragments collected together at the end of folder T-S AS 96.
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...


Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Jerusalem Talmud, parchment, Q&A


T-S 16.100
T-S 16.100: The story of the 'Letter of the Convert', told by Henry Abramson in a recent online article.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Mon 8 Aug 2022

The Cairo Genizah was the focus of four ‘History for the Curious’ podcasts by Rabbi Aubrey Hersch and Rabbi Mena Reisner during the month of May 2022. Early listeners to the fourth episode had the opportunity to grab a place on a tour to Cambridge to see the fragments in person, and we were delighted to welcome the lucky group on 22nd July. 

Geniza I: The Scandals.

A liar, a smuggler and a forger. All after the prize - the most lucrative of the 19th century. Meanwhile Cairo is opening up to...


Has tags: conversion, France, Genizah Fragments, podcast


Nick Posegay receives BIAJS Book Prize
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 14 Jul 2022

Congratulations to the Genizah Unit’s Nick Posegay, the 2022 winner of the British and Irish Association for Jewish Studies (BIAJS) Book Prize, for his book Points of Contact: The Shared Intellectual History of Vocalisation in Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew (Open Book Publishers, 2021 - read it Open Access here). Nick’s win (and an honourable mention for Joan Taylor and the late David M. Hay for their book Philo of Alexandria) was announced this week at the BIAJS annual conference at...


Has tags: Book, Genizah Fragments


T-S Ar. 44.4 and T-S NS 31.6
T-S Ar. 44.4 and T-S NS 31.6: Two halves of one page.
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...


Has tags: alchemy, Genizah Fragments, Q&A, science


T-S A3.35
Detail of a page from a Great Bible codex written by Samuel b. Jacob, showing his distinctive :◦: siglum at the end of masoretic notes (T-S A3.35).
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 23 Jun 2022

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 75 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 2018, by  the Genizah Research Unit's very own Kim Phillips.

During the first wave of Caliph al-Hakim’s intolerance towards the People of the Book, a Fustat-based scribe – Samuel ben Jacob – completed his labours on a high quality Bible codex (circa 1008–1009). No doubt he was satisfied with his work: the codex contains all twenty-four biblical books, accurately and ornately...

Has tags: Bible, codex, Genizah Fragments, scribe


T-S NS J479
T-S NS J479 (recto, inverted)
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...


Has tags: Arabic, cipher, Genizah Fragments, poetry, Q&A, Sufism


L-G Misc. 104
L-G Misc. 104: calendar covering the dates 967/8–970/71 CE.
By Ben Outhwaite on Fri 10 Jun 2022

A timeline of medieval calendar booklets from the Taylor-Schechter Genizah collection is now available on the website of the Genizah Research Unit, put together by Nadia Vidro. It is hoped that this timeline will serve as a tool for palaeographic analysis of manuscripts in the collection.


Composite image...


Has tags: calendar, Genizah Fragments, palaeography, resource


T-S NS 298.73B
T-S NS 298.73B (verso): part of a sixteenth-century calendar, printed in Strassburg, with a list of Christian saints and martyrs
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 9 Jun 2022

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 46 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 2003, by Bill Rebiger (then Research Assistant at the Institut für Judaistik, Freie Universität Berlin):

An intriguing phenomenon is the existence of non-Jewish fragments among the material from the Cairo Genizah. One such example at Cambridge University Library bears the classmark T-S NS 298.73. The fragment consists of...

Has tags: Ashkenaz, Christian, Genizah Fragments, printed


Detail from CUL Or. 1080.13
Detail from CUL Or.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 8 Jun 2022

The first Genizah fragments came to Cambridge University Library in the early 1890s, offered for sale as bundled job-lots of manuscripts sent from Jerusalem by the Hungarian rabbi and dealer in rare books, Rabbi Solomon Aaron Wertheimer. Some were purchased by Cambridge University Library, but others failed to generate much interest. Plaintive letters from Wertheimer asking for payment or the return of the offered manuscripts are preserved in the Library archives. His postcard from April 1893 ‘to the University Library’ requests payment or return of 13 manuscripts, as well as payment for a...


Has tags: Francis Jenkinson, Genizah Fragments, Solomon Schechter, Solomon Wertheimer


T-S K9.14
T-S K9.14 (recto): leaf from a masoretic work on accents.
By Kim Phillips on Mon 30 May 2022

Aron Dotan (b. 12th January 1928, Stuttgart)—one of the giants of 20th century Hebrew Linguistics and Masoretic Studies—passed away on 27th May 2022.

Dotan arrived in Israel at the age of five, when his parents made aliyyah to escape the evils of Nazi Germany. He went on to study Hebrew Language and Literature, and Semitic Linguistics, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and thereafter taught Hebrew Studies and Semitics at the universities of Tel-Aviv and Bar-Ilan, with great distinction.

In the 1950s Dotan was part of the Hebrew Language Committee (originally set...


Has tags: Genizah Fragments, masora


T-S AS 198.194
T-S AS 198.194, a decorative wall hanging depicting famous sites in the Holy Land, printed by Isaac Gashtsinni in Jerusalem between 1872 and 1897.
By Nick Posegay on Fri 27 May 2022

The Cairo Genizah is famous as a source for the study of medieval Jewish history, and that is mainly what we focus on in our work at the Genizah Research Unit. However, Egyptian Jews continued to produce and consume textual media all the way up to the Genizah’s “discovery” in 1896 (and beyond). As a result, Genizah collections also contain hundreds of manuscripts produced during the 19th century, written even as Oxbridge scholars sought to move them from Egypt to England. Among these are Arabic textbooks, Ladino novels, French wedding invitations, Yiddish newspapers, and Viennese Bibles....


Has tags: article, Genizah Fragments, Ottoman, printed


T-S 8.91
T-S 8.91 (recto)
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...


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


T-S K6.15
Detail from T-S K6.15. Yes, probably a hanukkiah rather than a birthday cake, but celebratory nonetheless.
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...


Has tags: Genizah Fragments