skip to content

Cambridge University Library

T-S Misc. 35.65
T-S Misc. 35.65 (recto): a leaf from the maqama collection Maḥberot Eitan ha-Ezraḥi
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Michael Rand on Wed 15 Sep 2021

Michael, what are you working on at the moment?

I’ve recently finished a book (Studies in the Medieval Hebrew Tradition of the Ḥarīrīan and Ḥarizian Maqama) on what, for lack of a better word, we can call the “classical” maqama. A maqama is a rhymed-prose narrative into which poems are inserted. The sorts of maqamas on which I am working are called picaresque maqamas, as they involve the adventures of a narrator and a hero. Picaresque maqamas went into the makeup of...

Read More...

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

 

T-S NS 188.20
T-S NS 188.20 (verso): a Samaritan legend in Judaeo-Arabic discovered by Dr Friedrich Niessen, of the T-S Unit
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 9 Sep 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 40 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 2000, by our late colleague Friedrich Niessen:

A passage in II Samuel 10:15–19 deals with David’s campaign against the Aramean king, Hadadezer, and Shovakh, the commander of his army. This is the only context in which the name Shovakh appears in the Bible in such a form. A different person with the same name occurs in a traditional Jewish legend, which relates that after the conquest of...
Read More...

Has tags: Bible, chronicle, Genizah Fragments, Samaritan

 

T-S K7.16
T-S K7.16 (recto): a Judaeo-Greek glossary to the Mishnah
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Julia Krivoruchko on Wed 8 Sep 2021

Julia, what are you working on today?

I’m re-examining T-S K7.16 – it’s a manuscript that I worked on a long time ago. It’s a long glossary with more than a hundred glosses. It was published by Nicholas de Lange and republished subsequently, but there’s more to say about it. My current draft of this...

Read More...

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, glossary, Greek, language, Mishnah, Q&A

 

T-S Ar.43.208
T-S Ar.43.208 P3 (recto): a leaf from 'Obadyah Maimuni's "Treatise of the Pool" (al-Maqāla al-Ḥawḍiyya)
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 2 Sep 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 4 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1982:

The Genizah has proved to be a mine of biographical information about the scholars of mediaeval Egypt, especially of the Maimonides family who were leaders of Egyptian Jewry for over 200 years. Indeed, communal and literary documents have come to light which testify to the sustained intellectual activity of Oriental Jewry’s most illustrious family.
Dr Paul Fenton,...
Read More...

Has tags: Abraham Maimonides, Genizah Fragments, Moses Maimonides, mystical, Sufism

 

T-S Misc. 9.94
T-S Misc. 9.94 (recto)
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Marc Michaels on Wed 1 Sep 2021

Marc, what are you working on today?

Today I'm actually writing a couple of gittin (divorce documents), but I'm also working on two articles, one specifically related to my PhD (on Sefer Tagin) and one looking at special scribal practices in Megillat Esther. The first article deals with transmission of the text, and includes a new Genizah fragment that is a further part of the fragments I covered in my recent book Sefer Tagin Fragments from the Cairo Genizah A Critical Edition,...

Read More...

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, palaeography, Q&A, scribe

 

T-S A43.6
T-S A43.6 P1 (recto): part of a shorthand Psalter.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Kim Phillips on Wed 25 Aug 2021

Kim, what are you working on today?

I’m working on T-S A43.6, and its associated fragments. They are a Shorthand Bible, or a Psalter, to be more precise.

A Shorthand Bible – is this the same as a Serugin manuscript?

Sort of. For the past too-long I’ve been looking at the different ways the mediaeval Jewish community in Fustat produced Bibles (or parts of Bibles) written in abbreviated form. It turns out there are three basic ways they did it: sometimes they just wrote the initial word, or few words, of a given verse, then the same for...

Read More...

Has tags: Bible, codex, Genizah Fragments, Q&A, serugin

 

T-S AS 213.20
T-S AS 213.20 (recto): a Christian hymnary for a Feast of Mary
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 19 Aug 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 6 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1983, by Sebastian Brock:

That the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection contains a smattering of Christian texts has long been known. Written mainly in Christian Palestinian Aramaic but also in Coptic, Georgian, Greek, Latin and Syriac, these are all to be found in manuscripts technically known as palimpsests. Such manuscripts consist of parchment leaves whose original writing (in this case...
Read More...

Has tags: Christian, Genizah Fragments, Syriac

 

T-S 16.75
T-S 16.75 (recto): part of a ketubba written by Yefet b. David.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Zina Cohen on Wed 18 Aug 2021

Zina, you have a new book coming out soon about inks in Genizah manuscripts. How did your interest in the fragments come about?

I have a Masters in archaeology, but have always been interested in science. I came to be interested in archaeometry – science applied to archaeology. During my Masters degree I worked on an Islamic complex in Morocco dating to the 14th century, analysing the mortar to try to understand if there were strategies involved in preparing the mortar. My main subject of interest, though, was manuscripts and pigments, and I planned to continue my...

Read More...

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, ink, ketubba, Moses Maimonides, paper, Q&A, scribe

 

Genizah crate of manuscripts
Stefan Reif shows a crate of manuscripts to visitors (Israeli Ambassador, Yehuda Avner, and Eli Rosen, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs)
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 12 Aug 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 28 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1994, by J.D. Pearson, Emeritus Professor of Bibliography at the University of London. He recalls his days as a young man in Cambridge, fetching manuscripts, encountering Genizah researchers, and battling the smells of the fragments:

Having joined the Library staff as a “boy” (today called an assistant) in 1928, at the age of sixteen, I became acquainted with the documents...

Read More...

Has tags: conservation, Genizah Fragments

 

T-S 13J22.2
T-S 13J22.2 (recto): Sitt al-Ḥusn frees her two slaves. They can live in part of an apartment of hers and have all her clothing if they continue to profess the Jewish faith.
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Craig Perry on Wed 11 Aug 2021

Hi Craig – what are you working on at the moment?

Next week (12 August) is the UK publication date for volume 2 of the Cambridge World History of Slavery of which I am co-editor and contributing author. I wrote chapters on slavery and the slave trade in the western...

Read More...

Has tags: Abraham Maimonides, Genizah Fragments, Ibn Yiju, legal, Mordechai Akiva Friedman, Moses Maimonides, Q&A, responsa, slave

 

T-S 12.832
T-S 12.832 (recto): ‘Do your utmost to summon the litigants and to caution and intimidate them in the name of God, may He be honoured and extolled, so that they confess in the absence of clear evidence. And mediate among them...'
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 5 Aug 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 16 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1988, by Joel Kraemer:

The importance of the Cambridge Genizah for the study of Maimonides manuscripts is widely acclaimed. Not long ago, Dr David Goldstein (of blessed memory) delivered a lecture at Cambridge on these manuscripts (see Genizah Fragments 11, April, 1986).

The survival of a...

Read More...

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, ink, Moses Maimonides, responsa

 

Mosseri VII.84.1
Mosseri VII.84.1 (recto)
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Dotan Arad on Wed 4 Aug 2021

Dotan, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a group of documents, mainly in Judaeo-Arabic, related to the relations between Karaites and Rabbanites in the Ottoman period, especially in Cairo and Jerusalem. Most of the documents are part of the Firkovich collection, such as Evr. Ar. II 1143, Evr. Ar. II 1408, Evr. Ar. II 1458 and more, but a few of them belong to other collections. For example, Mosseri VII.84.1, a torn loan deed, written in the 16th century, which testifies that a Karaite borrower, Jacob ibn Farjallah, owed money to a Rabbanite...

Read More...

Has tags: debt, Firkovich, Genizah Fragments, Karaite, marriage, Ottoman, Q&A, Rabbanite, responsa

 

A Hoard of Hebrew Mss
Schechter's announcement in the Times on 3rd August 1897
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Tue 3 Aug 2021

On his return to Britain, Solomon Schechter described his ‘pilgrimage’ to the Genizah in the Ben Ezra Synagogue. His account, an article entitled ‘A Hoard of Hebrew Mss’, was published in The Times 124 years ago, on 3 August, 1897. 

After introducing the concept of a Genizah to the British public:

‘The Genizah of the old Jewish community... represents a combination of sacred lumber-room and secular record office.’ 

Schechter outlines his motivation for visiting Cairo and thanks his patrons:

‘especially Dr. Taylor, the Master...

Read More...

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Solomon Schechter

 

T-S AS 218.153
T-S AS 218.153 (recto): letter sent from Egypt to Safed, reporting the death of Safed's fundraising emissary
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 29 Jul 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 23 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 1992, by Abraham David:

During the Mamlūk period (1250-1516), the land of Israel was politically and economically attached to the Egyptian centre and was ruled from Cairo by emirs and governors with varying degrees of authority. 

From the second half of the fifteenth century, Jewish sources paint an interesting picture of relations...

Read More...

Has tags: charity, Genizah Fragments, Hebron, Jerusalem, mamluk, Ottoman, Safed

 

Rabbi Refael Aharon Ben-Shim’on
Rabbi Refael Aharon Ben-Shim’on, the chief rabbi of Cairo at the time of Solomon Schechter's visit in 1896
By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Noam Sienna on Wed 28 Jul 2021

Noam, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working with Marina Rustow at the Princeton Geniza Project, helping to train a computer algorithm to transcribe documentary material from the Genizah. The PGP has lots of transcriptions and editions of documents that various Genizah scholars have done, so right now we’re getting the computer to match up what it sees on an image with the transcription that a...

Read More...

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Magreb, Princeton Geniza Project, Q&A, Rabbi Ben-Shim'on, Solomon Schechter

 

Follow the blog