Monday, June 4, 2007

Israel Museum Displays Rare Manuscript

From The New York Times: "JERUSALEM (AP) -- A rare Old Testament manuscript some 1,300 years old is finally on display for the first time, after making its way from a secret room in a Cairo synagogue to the hands of an American collector.

The manuscript, containing the ''Song of the Sea'' section of the Old Testament's Book of Exodus and dating to around the 7th century A.D., comes from what scholars call the ''silent era'' -- a span of 600 years between the third and eighth centuries from which almost no Hebrew manuscripts survive."

''It comes from a period of almost darkness in terms of Hebrew manuscripts,'' said Stephen Pfann, a textual scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem. Scholars have long noted the lack of original biblical manuscripts written between the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the latest of which come from the third century, to texts written in the ninth and 10th centuries, Pfann said. ...

The parchment is believed to have been left in the Cairo Genizah, a vast depository of medieval Jewish manuscripts discovered in the late 1800s in a previously unknown room at Cairo's ancient Ben Ezra Synagogue.

No comments: