Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Readers of this blog should by now be familiar with the Erfurt manuscript of the Tosefta (digitized in full here, and transcribed here). You may also have heard about the 'Erfurt Treasure', which was on exhibit in several museums over the past few years. You may not have known, as I didn't, that Erfurt also boasts an old synagogue, possibly one of the oldest in Europe.

The Erfurt Treasure is now going on permanent display in the newly restored synagogue, and to celebrate, the city is holding a three day conference. The programme is here. Most of it is in German and of mostly local interest. But Prof Jordan Penkower will be there, speaking about 'The Ashkenazi Pentateuch Tradition as Reflected in the Erfurt Hebrew Bible Manuscripts - Text, Section Divisons, Layout of the Songs'. Prof Penkower has been doing work on medieval Ashkenazic Pentateuchs and Torah scrolls (some of which belong to the Erfurt collection, usually in Berlin but at least some will be on display in the synagogue), and he has discovered some fascinating things. If you're in the area, go and hear him (and Avraham David, who will be speaking in Erfurt in December). If not, you'll have to wait until he publishes his research. At the rate that he publishes, I don't expect that to be very long.


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