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Book Notes: A Miscellany of Literary Pieces from the Cambridge Genizah Collection, Simon Hopkins

Raphael Loewe

<plain_text><page sequence="1">GENIZAH AT CAMBRIDGE A Miscellany of Literary Pieces from the Cam? bridge Genizah Collections. A Catalogue and Selection of Texts in the Taylor-Schechter Col? lection, Old Series, Box A45. By Simon Hopkins. Cambridge University Press, 1978, x+110 pp., numerous plates. ?16 ($30) net. The Genizah has yielded material of importance for the history of mediaeval European Jewries as well as those of Egypt and its environs which it principally reflects, but about Anglo-Jewry its contents have nothing to tell us. But if not the Genizah itself, 'geniz ology' certainly falls within the purview of Anglo Jewish history, since it was English scholars (princi? pally, but by no means exclusively, Schechter) who were responsible for securing the bulk of it for Cam? bridge, where for 80 years it has acted as a magnet for Jewish scholars of distinction from all over the world. Despite repeated prodding by the Jewish specialists within the university itself, Cambridge has hitherto been somewhat backward in appreciating the impor? tance of its own Hebrew collections, not least the Genizah; and indeed the learned world generally has very slowly come to appreciate its importance not merely for specifically Jewish history but also as a source of great richness for the economic history of the mediaeval Mediterranean. The fact that the scales have at last fallen from the university's eyes is due in part to the general acclaim that has been accorded to S. D. Goitein's monumental Genizah studies, but princi? pally to the enthusiasm, energy, and drive of Dr. S. C. Reif, who, as a member of the staff of Cambridge University Library, has the Genizah in his care. This volume, by Simon Hopkins, though num? bered the third, is the first to appear in a series of six which will assemble reproductions of fragments relat? ing to various aspects of Jewish scholarship, e.g., vocal? isation systems, post-Talmudic halakhic material, etc.; and it will include?laus Deo?as one volume a biblio? graphy of the great mass of published material from the Genizah that is scattered through various periodi? cal publications over nearly nine decades, as well as in a smaller number of volumes specifically devoted to Genizah documents. Each document in the present volume is reproduced photographically, transcribed (unless relatively easily available), and commented upon succinctly, the relevant bibliography being in each case cited. Included in it are a number of frag? ments of apocryphal books in Hebrew and of the Megillath Antiochus. Detailed comment would be out of place here; but it is right to say that the editor's treatment is exemplary, and those concerned with Jewish studies may congratulate themselves that the subject has enlisted the interest of so accomplished a scholar as Simon Hopkins. Raphael Loewe</page></plain_text>