A Catalogue of Fragments of Halakhah and Midrash from the Cairo Genizah in the Elkan Nathan Adler Collection of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (review)
- Hebrew Studies
- National Association of Professors of Hebrew
- Volume 41, 2000
- pp. 339-341
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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 339 Reviews Wolfson also develops his skills for creating dialogues and employing the conceit of the fictitious editor who merely brings the work to press. A mark of the extent' of western influence is notable by the author's use of conventional European depictions of the other world in place of drawing on the abundant materials available from Jewish sources. The benefit of this study is that it places Hebrew literary efforts of the early Haskalah into the context of earlier Jewish or European literary practices (pp. 270-271). In so doing, it demonstrates the affinity of Haskalah a~thors for all kinds of literary forms, integrating and distinguishing Hebrew literature from other models. Among the study's drawbacks is its need for a more rigorous editing to avoid duplication, and do away with the often unnecessary use of English within the discussion. Of dubious value is Pelli's propensity to emphasize words by spacing letters out further than ordinary, thus drawing attention to them and not permitting a natural reading. Nonetheless, this is still a worthwhile examination of the Haskalah. It illuminates a neglected era of modem Hebrew literary study, one which is of essence for a full comprehension of the nature, directions, forms and forums of Israeli literature today. Stephen Katz Indiana University Bloomington, IN 47405 email@example.com A CATALOGUE OF FRAGMENTS OF HALAKHAH AND MIDRASH FROM THE CAIRO GENIZAH IN THE ELKAN NATHAN ADLER COLLECTION OF THE LIBRARY OF THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF AMERICA. [Hebrew with an English introduction]. By N. Danzig. Pp xvi + 362. New York and Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1997. Each new publication of Cairo Genizah materials is cause for celebration . Happily, the scholarly world has much to celebrate in recent decades, with the strong publication program of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University and numerous critical editions of late antique and medieval Rabbinic texts that are based upon or make use of Genizah sources. The systematic publication of this ~ost important of Jewish archives has been a continuing project of our generation, with the pub- Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 340 Reviews Iication of everything from business records to personal letters, liturgy to magic to medical texts, halakhic texts, midrash and more. The quarter of a million fragments recovered from the Ben Ezra synagogue in old Cairo have been dispersed to libraries around the world, making this material notoriously difficult to use. Danzig believes correctly that the lack of comprehensive catalogues of the major collections has hindered direct and easy access to items which the scholar may wish to locate. The systematic cataloging of these many collections, although a desideratum for one hundred years, has not yet been achieved. In this catalogue Danzig set out to fill this lacuna for one of the most important of all Genizah collections, the Elkan Nathan Adler Collection of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Acquired by Adler in Cairo in 1896, this marvelous collection contains an incredible wealth of Rabbinic literature, including manuscripts of the Mishnah and Mishnah commentaries, the Tosefta, the minor tractates, the Jerusalem Talmud and its commentaries, the Babylonian Talmud and its commentaries, Midrashim and Aggadic literature, Homilies (derashot) and Homiletical literature, Halakhic Compositions (Hibburei Halakha), Talmudic methodology, Halakhic controversies, Halakhic dictionaries, Bible commentaries, Responsa , Halakhic documents (Teudot Hi/khalio/), and liturgical texts. The vast majority are in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Judeo-Arabic, though Ladino, Arabic, and Persian language documents also appear. In all, more than 8,000 pages of Rabbinic texts were dispersed throughout the collection procured by Adler. The materials in this collection date primarily to the eleventh-thirteenth and the sixteenth~ighteenth centuries, reflecting Rabbinic learning in the Mediterranean basis during this period. Danzig's goals in this project were to make the Rabbinica in the Adler collection "accessible to scholars whereby facilitating its use in modem editions and scholarly studies of those texts, and to encourage the publication of new texts that have been discovered." The core of this impressive volume is its catalog of Rabbinica that is accompanied by twelve facsimile pages of representative documents. The volume opens with an extensive eighty-three page introduction in Hebrew...