Thursday, September 15, 2016

INL acquires Jewish Afghan manuscripts

NEW COLLECTION: Rare findings from ancient Jewish community of Afghanistan. The Israeli National Library acquires massive and unique collection of ancient Jewish documents from Afganistan (Arutz Sheva).
The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem has acquired a one of a kind collection of manuscripts which will revolutionize our understanding about the history and culture of the legendary Silk Road's ancient Jewish community. The new collection, comprised of approximately 250 pages dating to the early 11th century, constitutes the largest body of original materials from the region prior to the modern era. Complementing the NLI's existing collection of 29 pages from the widely-reported "Afghan Geniza", Because of the widespread destruction during the Mongol Conquests, it represents virtually the only primary source for information about this once-thriving Jewish community, as well as the region's Islamic and Persian cultures prior to the Mongol invasion. This acquisition has been made possible through the generous support of the William Davidson Foundation and the Haim and Hanna Salomon Fund.

The acquisition of the 29 pages from the Afghan "geniza" archive in 2013 was noted here. Follow the links there for background on the archive and see also here and here. The newly acquired manuscripts include more from that archive and also some additional texts from the early 13th century.