Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New articles and books

Bar Ilan University Press has issued new volumes of its journals Sidra and Da'at. I haven't seen them yet, so I can't say much about them.

Magnes Press is publishing an updated version of the late Ezra Fleischer's book, Shirat ha-Kodesh ha-Ivrit. They also recently published a collection of studies on MD Cassuto. Among his many achievements was a catalogue of some of the Hebrew manuscripts in the Vatican library. A new catalogue, covering all Hebrew manuscripts in all the Vatican collections, is due to be published sometime in the forseeable future.
Apparently, the Moshe Bar Asher festschrift has also been published.

And a new issue of the Meorot Journal has hit the stands, with an intense exchange between Jen Taylor Friedman and Rabbi Dov Linzer, about the halakhic status of a Sefer Torah written by a woman.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New Ginzei Qedem and New Genizah

Volume 3 of Ginzei Qedem, a publication of Yad Ben Zvi and the Friedberg Genizah Project, appeared recently. Table of contents here. I haven't seen the volume itself, but I saw one of the articles a few months back - a joint project by Avi Shmidman and Uri Ehrlich - and it is very interesting. It traces the development of the prayers appended to the end of the Amidah.

Another article in this volume, by Ezra Chwat and Nissim Sabato, publishes a Genizah fragment written by a student of Maimonides, based upon comments made by Maimonides on a passage in the Alfasi. These comments were never written in any of Rambam's works, they were just an oral comment. Thus the importance of this fragment.

What is more interesting, is that this particular fragment is the first published piece from a stash of Genizah fragments recently discovered in the National Library in Jerusalem. It is unknown when the fragments arrived in Jerusalem, but they sat unnoticed for decades until the room they were stored in was renovated over the past year. I look forward to more interesting finds from this twice discovered Genizah.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More Genizah online!

The John Rylands University Library in Manchester has begun digitizing its Genizah collection, as promised. Check it out! More than 3000 fragments are already online.

The collection reflects a later stratum of the Genizah than the larger collections. But that can be a good thing - I noticed lots of Zohar fragments, and even a "Luria autograph".

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The Special Collections reading room at the Jewish Theological Seminary usually has a few books on display. At the moment, several copies of Sefer ha-Zohar are being showcased. The two first printings - Mantua and Cremona - are there, and now I know why one was called 'ha-Gadol'.

A Zohar manuscript (JTS ms. 1614, ENA 991) is also on display.

Ronit Meroz has been leading a research project to study the manuscripts of the Zohar. For the proceedings of a recent conference on the Zohar, see here. English summaries of the articles online!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Or Zarua manuscripts

I just came across this article by Professor Simcha Emanuel, about the sorry textual state of Sefer Or Zarua, an important halakhic work from medieval Vienna.