Tag Archives: Shulamit Elizur

A new fragment of the book of Ben Sira, T-S AS 118.78

Scholars Shulamit Elizur and Michael Rand have a piece up about the newest fragment of Sirach

The original Hebrew text of the apocryphal book of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) lies at the very heart of the story of the discovery of the Cairo Genizah and the subsequent dispersal of its contents to the libraries of Europe and the United States. Indeed, the discovery of the Genizah may be dated to 1865, the year when Jacob Saphir visited the repository in the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fustat, as reported in his book Even Sapir (Lyk, 1866). However, it was not until 1896 that the effort to recover and acquire Genizah manuscripts began in earnest, for this was the year when the twin sisters Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson returned from a trip to Cairo with a number of leaves from the Genizah that they had succeeded in purchasing. When they showed these leaves to Solomon Schechter at Cambridge University, he quickly recognised among them the remains of the Hebrew Ben Sira. Schechter’s discovery touched off a bitter rivalry between himself and Adolf Neubauer of Oxford University, the object of which was the identification of further fragments of this book. It was in the course of this rivalry that Schechter traveled to Cairo and secured permission to transfer the bulk of the contents of the Genizah to Cambridge University Library (for further details see Reif 1997 and Jefferson 2009).

The rest, with images, here:

Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit – Fragment of the month.