Journal Article

A Genizah secret

Rebecca J. W. Jefferson

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 125-142
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhp003
A Genizah secret

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The discovery of the Cairo Genizah manuscripts (over 200,000 fragmentary texts, mainly written in Hebrew and Arabic) in the late-nineteenth century is an enigmatic tale. The early collectors of this material, unaware of its exact provenance or keen to safeguard their access to it, did not divulge their sources. However, a selection of unpublished letters preserved in the Bodleian Library, in the archives of the Egypt Exploration Society and in the National Archives help piece together more of the story which will be revealed here for the first time. The letters concern the unacknowledged role of the mysterious Count d'Hulst in the recovery of sections of the Oxford Genizah collection; the race between two eminent scholars, Adolf Neubauer and Solomon Schechter, to discover the missing manuscript leaves of the original Hebrew Ecclesiasticus and the unspoken competition between the Libraries of Oxford and Cambridge to expand their Oriental collections.

Journal Article.  15298 words. 

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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