The Cairo Genizah and the Age of Discovery in Egypt: The History and Provenance of a Jewish Archive (Hardcover)

The Cairo Genizah and the Age of Discovery in Egypt: The History and Provenance of a Jewish Archive By Rebecca J. W. Jefferson Cover Image
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The Cairo Genizah is considered one of the world's greatest Hebrew manuscript treasures. Yet the story of how over a quarter of a million fragments hidden in Egypt were discovered and distributed around the world, before becoming collectively known as "The Cairo Genizah," is far more convoluted and compelling than previously told. The full story involves an international cast of scholars, librarians, archaeologists, excavators, collectors, dealers and agents, operating from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century, and all acting with varying motivations and intentions in a race for the spoils.

Basing her research on a wealth of archival materials, Jefferson reconstructs how these protagonists used their various networks to create key alliances, or to blaze lone trails, each one on a quest to recover ancient manuscripts. Following in their footsteps, she takes the reader on a journey down into ancient caves and tombs, under medieval rubbish mounds, into hidden attic rooms, vaults, basements and wells, along labyrinthine souks, and behind the doors of private clubs and cloistered colleges. Along the way, the reader will also learn about the importance of establishing manuscript provenance and authenticity, and the impact to our understanding of the past when either factor is in doubt.

About the Author

Rebecca J. W. Jefferson is the Curator of the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica at the University of Florida, USA, and a joint faculty member of the Center for Jewish Studies. Her PhD in medieval Hebrew is from the University of Cambridge, UK where she also worked on the Genizah Research Unit's Bibliography project. Jefferson's ongoing personal research involves an in-depth investigation into the discovery of the world-wide Cairo Genizah collections; she has published numerous articles on aspects of their discovery and distribution.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781788319638
ISBN-10: 178831963X
Publisher: I. B. Tauris & Company
Publication Date: February 24th, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English