Monday, November 23, 2015

Emanuel, Hidden Treasures from Europe

Hidden Treasures from Europe

Volume I
[In Hebrew.]

By Simcha Emanuel

The discovery of the Cairo Geniza has transformed scholarly research in multiple areas of Jewish Studies and revolutionized several disciplines. It has provided the materials for thousands of studies and is by no means exhausted. Alongside the Cairo Geniza, an additional "Geniza" is slowly emerging in Europe, one that consists of many thousands of individual pages that were torn from Hebrew manuscripts hundreds of years ago and subsequently used for bookbinding and as folders for archive files. Although the first fruits of the European Geniza appeared considerably before the discovery of its Cairo counterpart, this "European Geniza" has not been at the center of scholarly interest, and relatively few scholars have made use of it. However, in recent decades thousands of new fragments have come to light, increasing the quantity previously known to us exponentially.

Hidden Treasures from Europe seeks to bring the European Geniza to the forefront of scholarly research. Chapter One is an extensive and detailed introduction to the nature of this Geniza. The heart of the book, Chapters Two through Twelve, comprises the first publication of eleven important texts found in the European Geniza that are not extant in published editions or in whole manuscripts. These were carefully chosen from among a much broader range of previously unknown texts that were preserved in the European Geniza. Half of these compositions are Bible commentaries (Section I, Chapters Two–Six), and the other half are commentaries to the Talmud (Section II, Chapters Seven–Twelve). Most were composed in France, Germany, or Italy, while the country of origin of one early work, Sefer efeî, has yet to be determined.
A couple of possibly related past posts are here and here.