Thursday, August 06, 2009

World Congress Day 5 – part 2

Session 704 – The European Genizah Project 2

Elisabeth Hollender. About half of fragments from Germany contain piyutim. These liturgical manuscripts are difficult to localize since they do not normally contain information about the scribe, and are usually copied in square script. How can we cull additional information from these fragments? For one, some fragments in the Trier collection contain Minhag Tsarfat and are from the 14th century, saying something about immigration from France even before the Expulsion. There are other Tsarfatic fragments found in Germany. But none of the fragments at Erlangen defined by Ernst Roth as Tsarfatic are actually French. Beyond the upper valley of the Moselle, there are only occasional uses of Minhag Tsarfat, showing that French refugees did not keep with their tradition. Mention of Giluy Milta blog. The chance of finding unknown piyutim is low – one new piyut by Shimshon ben Yonah (? yotser for first day of Shavuot) has been found and will be published by Dr Hollender in the forthcoming volume on Genizat Europe. All other piyutim found were mentioned by Zunz and were usually published by Goldschmidt and Fraenkel. Most manuscripts are from 14th century or later, so repertoire was limited. Except perhaps shiv'atot, which were mostly composed in Ashkenaz and were only popular for a limited time, so they are not common in the binding fragments. But there are a few from the 14th century. The use of selihot was less fixed than piyutim, as shown by Avraham Fraenkel in his introduction to Leket Piyute Selihot. Only the rise of printed Selihot created unity in the liturgy. In answer to a question – most piyutim are vocalized according to the simplified Ashkenazic system.


Javier Castano. Still in preliminary stage of checking notarial documents from Aragon – access to archives is not a simple issue. First – preservation of Hebrew documents is connected to notarial culture in Mediterranean. Fragments of Hebrew expenses book from Tarazona in binding of Quran, first described in 1912 but misidentified until Yahuda corrected the identification. Mentions the payment made by the community to avoid being stoned on Easter. Incidental interest by Aragonese scholars in 20th century. Stronger interest in 1970s but still awaiting research. Document from Beit Din 1466 Saragossa. Two important books have been published – on the ketubot and on documents from Navarra. Unlike the Catalan fragments from bindings, most of the Aragonese fragments are from 15th century. Dispersion and discontextualisation of data makes research difficult. Image from border of Spain and France, with Ketubah 1465 Aragonese city, serving as binding for notarial protocol. Other Hebrew documents were attached to related notarial documents. From Navarra 68 documents were published in one volume (and 12 have been found since) – in Aragon 70 documents have been found, no more than 4 in the same place (excepting Saragossa). But this is an early survey. Typology of private deeds – account books, ketubot, etc. 44 ketubot were published, only 6 from Aragon. Almosnino family monopolized scribal activity in their town for several generations in 15th century. Public documents – court decisions. Someone mentioned in Hebrew court document from Huesca is probably the person burned to death a few years later as studied by Y Baer. טירואל court wrote to Saragossa in Hebrew alphabet vernacular. In contrast to Girona, the finds in Aragon and Castile and Portugal are modest. Project trying to survey systematically. In Catalunya, the destruction in 1391 and confiscation of Hebrew books in 15th century explains the recycling. But in Aragon, communities survived into 15th century, and the project may help to provide information about them. In answer to question - Catalan Jews are basically Provencal Jews, but the rest of the Iberian peninsula is a different culture, including Jewish culture. Halakhic and Talmudic fragments have been found in Catalunya, but not in other areas. In Barcelona there are four archives that may contain similar bindings to Girona, which may be the tip of the iceberg. Recovering them is primarily a monetary question, and archivists are often resistant to taking apart their holdings. Also – in Catalunya the archives are state-controlled, but in Aragon they are private, so just getting access is not easy. Perani asks how many fragments are parchment. Castano answers that they are mostly paper, but parchment is used for outer bindings – either ketubot or Bible (sometimes Sefer Torah). Fragments of Torah scrolls have been found in many small towns.


Andreas Kunz-Luebcke – fragments in Freiberg, in East Germany, including Mahzor. 2 pages from Pentateuch, 6 from Mahzor and fragments of Haftarot. Pentateuch manuscript, with Targum and masorah, has illustrations of dragons, of a bird, and flowers. Attempt to explain connection between illustration and biblical text. One dragon has two heads, one at each end, and one of them is anthropomorphic. Textual comparison of Biblical and Targumic text to other witnesses. Targum may possibly be connected to Targum Yerushalmi I. Fragments from Mahzor – approx. 1% of the complete codex. Similar to Nuremberg Mahzor, as opposed to Leipzig and Worms mahzorim in both repertoire of piyutim and specific variants in text of piyutim. This suggests that the Eastern Ashkenazic rite was in use in Freiberg. Comment by [Avraham Fraenkel, or his brother in law, not sure] – cataloguing should differentiate between Siddur, Mahzor and Selihot.


Andreas Lehnardt. Renewed interest in bindings in Italy and Austria is well developed, but in Germany it has been neglected. Andreas once found page of a Mahzor with piyut of Kalir in a book from library of Eisenmeger and later in Jewish community of Mainz. This sparked his interest in the topic. Just found 12th century Hebrew fragment in Giessen – possibly oldest found so far. Pieta from Lake Constance with a Hebrew fragment stuck to Jesus's knee – not only in bindings. 14th-17th centuries are period when bindings were reused. Several hundred new fragments in places were persecutions were known – Frankfurt in 17th century, Friedberg where Jews were expelled in 1620 – 144 fragments (3% Talmud, 36% liturgy, 25% Bible, Mishneh Torah and Sefer ha-Terumah). First interest in Germany in Hebrew binding fragments in 15th century, but mostly in 18th century, usually when Latin fragments were found by librarians or scholars. Moritz Steinschneider was not very interested in fragments, though he did describe fragments that he was shown, and he sometimes misidentified them. After the Holocaust, hardly anyone studied fragments – Ernst Roth. Michael Krupp took an interest in fragments. Famous Sefer Yerushalmi in Darmstadt. In almost every town Andreas has visited in the past years he has found at least one fragment. Mentions fragment of Emunot ve-Deot (Ashkenazic translation) that I identified 1 ½ years ago. And Talmud fragments (in Sefardic script, probably from Italy) from Kassel. No fragments of mystical texts have been found, and rarely of midrash. Collaboration with Mif'al ha-Mishnah. Need to look in other countries too - some fragments from Trier are now in Cincinnati and fragments from Mainz in New York. Some fragments from Trier may now be in Paris. Benjamin Richler asks – in terms of range of topics, need to remember that large format manuscripts are the ones that were useful. And Malachi Beit-Arie says the same proportions are found everywhere, and it may be also because of original demand. In Italian Genizah there are not many Italian manuscripts. Kogel asks about grammatical works – but none of those. 700 fragments have been found so far, and new findings turn up every week.


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