Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Review of Hoffman & Cole, "Sacred Trash"

SACRED TRASH, by Hoffman and Cole, is reviewed by Robert Leiter in the Jewish Exponent. Excerpt:
The early chapters of Hoffman and Cole's book move at the breakneck pace of a saga straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Once Schechter decides to depart the scene in Cambridge to become chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the pace of the book slows a bit. There were many scholars warring for a chance to have a crack at the genizah treasures, and Hoffman and Cole provide detailed biographies of each of these eccentric characters and the various parts they played in uncovering what all this mountain of writing meant.

But throughout Sacred Trash, the intellectual excitement never flags, since, in the end, the revelations the genizah provided altered our conception of what Jewish life was like in the ancient world and beyond. No manuscript discovery would rival it until Bedouin shepherds in the early 1950s stumbled upon the urns containing the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves at Qumran.
The review relates many entertaining personal details about the Lewis-Gibson twins and Solomon Schechter. Read it all.

Earlier reviews etc. here and links.