Friday, August 28, 2009

Saving the Tannaim

The sidebar of this blog includes a link to the 'Primary Textual Witnesses to Tannaitic Literature' website. It contains full transcriptions of all extant manuscripts of the Tosefta and the Mekhilta - including Geniza fragments. You just put in the passage you want, and the witnesses you want it from, and you get a separate window for each manuscript - conducive to careful comparison (though the units they are presented in are too long and unwieldy).

Here is some more information sent to me by a friend who runs the project:
The project is headed by Prof. Shamma Friedman and aspires to transcribe all extant Tannaitic literature, and hopefully to upload high quality scans in addition to the transcription. The project is free and run for the public's use. We welcome comments via e-mail and make corrections according to peoples comments. The project is run by Asaf Pink and 5 dedicated workers. We have the Tosefta and Mechilta de-Rabbi Yishmael fully uploaded.

The Sifra will be uploaded in the next few months and both the Sifreis should be uploaded till the end of 2010. Additionally we have uploaded a fascinating paper pointing out the pros and cons of some of the Tosefta and Mechilta editions with quite a few corrections even to Kahana's Geniza fragments edition.

Now here's the important part:
We would welcome donations and comments. The project is funded by Bar Ilan University and the Naftal Institute but unfortunately the economic crisis has caused the budget to be downsized considerably. For comments or donations they can contact my e-mail. We are planning to start working on the Mishna soon and if enough funding could be found we plan to have all extant Mss of the Mishna uploaded by the end of 2013!!!!

So there you have it. An important project, with new data, open access and a need for funding to keep going. Give, or don't come to me in 2013 complaining that you can't find a Genizah fragment for Masekhet Mikvaot.


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