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Genizah_bk.jpg (55909 bytes)A Jewish Archive from Old Cairo

The History of Cambridge University's Genizah Collection

Stefan C. Reif

University of Cambridge


It is now 100 years since the Genizah Collection  was formally presented by the Jewish community of Cairo to the University of Cambridge, 50 years since matching discoveries were made among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and 25 years since the Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library began a systematic programme of conservation, microfilming, research and publication.


Although many scholars have exploited this unique resource to re-write almost every aspect of Jewish history in the Mediterranean area of he Middle Ages, none has until now attempted to summarize the total impact made by the discoveries or to tell the fascinating tale of how the Collection was amassed in Cairo and transferred to Cambridge and, to a lesser degree, other academic institutions in the west.


In this readable and intriguing study, Stefan Reif tells a number of remarkable stories. He explains how Cairo came to have its important Genizah archive, how Cambridge developed its interests in Hebraica an, and how a number of colorful figures brought the connection between the two centers.


Also reliably summarized here are the importance of the Genizah material for Jewish cultural history and the manner in which its conservation, development and publication have proceeded in the course of a century.


  ISBN 0 7007 12763 : 280 pp :Illus, some in colour : Hard : March 2000 L 35.00

ISBN 0 7007 1312 3: 280 pp : Illus, some in colour  :Paper : March 2000 L12.99


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