Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cairo Geniza Digitization Project

I'm simply trying to catch up with Jim Davila at PaleoJudaica who had noted the start of Cairo Geniza Digitization Project back in 2006. This latest post was prompted by an article in the London Times. As the article states:

The fragments are known collectively as the Cairo Genizah (or Geniza) from the Hebrew for a document-store. Nearly a third of the materials are scattered around the world in universities and research institutes; the remaining two thirds are in Cambridge.

Now, documents in all locations are being scanned and catalogued and within five years should be available to the world via the web, thanks to an initiative launched in 1999 by the Friedberg Geniza Project, an international foundation. The main player in the project is the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit (widely called the Geniza Unit), set up in the mid-1970s to manage the Cambridge collection.

The importance to Jewish studies research of this online archive is expected to be revolutionary. The Geniza is “the greatest single hoard of primary sources for the study of Judaism and Jewish history ever uncovered,” says the University of Manchester professor Philip Alexander.
Like the Sinaiticus digitization project, this is going to be a great resource. For myself, I became interested in it as I was working on my dissertation on Psalm 22 (LXX 21) and the Crucifixion of Jesus, because a palimpsest fragment of Origen's Hexapla of this psalm was among the documents found. [Taylor, Charles: Hebrew-Greek Cairo Genizah palimpsests from the Taylor-Schechter collection including a fragment of the twenty-second Psalm according to Origen's Hexapla (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1900)]

If you want more information, here are some links to follow:

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