The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic
Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code in an old Egyptian synagogue—the amazing story of one of the most important discoveries in modern religious scholarship.
In 1896, Rabbi Solomon Schechter of Cambridge University stepped into the attic of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, and there found the largest treasure trove of medieval and early manuscripts ever discovered. He had entered the synagogue’s genizah—its repository for damaged and destroyed Jewish texts—which held nearly 300,000 individual documents, many of which were over 1,000 years old.
Considered among the most important discoveries in modern religious history, its contents contained early copies of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, early manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, and other sacred literature. The importance of the genizah’s contents rivals that of the Rosetta Stone, and by virtue of its sheer mass alone, it will continue to command our attention indefinitely.
This is the first accessible, comprehensive account of this astounding discovery. It will delight you with its fascinating adventure story—why this enormous collection was amassed, how it was discovered and the many lessons to be found in its contents. And it will show you how Schechter’s find, though still being “unpacked” today, forever transformed our knowledge of the Jewish past, Muslim history and much more.
“Gripping…. With descriptive flair, [this] is a page-turner, a fast-paced archaeological mystery, a globe-trotting adventure, and a wonderful story. Highly recommended!”
—Dr. Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education, American Jewish University;
president, Synagogue 3000; author, The Seven Questions You’re Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth
“Brings this adventure vibrantly to life, taking the reader on a fascinating journey…. Accessible and engaging … a great introduction to a complex story of scheming, scholarship, and sensation.”
—Dr. Rebecca J. W. Jefferson, head of the Price Library of Judaica, University of Florida; former researcher, Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University
“Fascinating … well researched and enthusiastic, [it] offers a wonderfully enjoyable introduction to a subject that deserves far more attention than it has received thus far.”
—Donald P. Ryan, PhD, division of humanities, Pacific Lutheran University
“If there were a religious wonders of the world list, the Cairo Genizah would be near the top of it; and Rabbi Mark Glickman its indispensable—eloquent, wry, and knowledgeable—guide.”
—Melissa Fay Greene, author, The Temple Bombing
“With an exhilarating enthusiasm and an eye for curious detail, Mark Glickman relates the tale of the recovery of this momentous archive and examines its impact on our interpretation of the Jewish past.”
—Ben Outhwaite, director, Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University
“Traces with page-turning enthusiasm the discovery, study, and significance of the Cairo Genizah. Recommended for Jewish studies classes, book groups, and synagogue adult study classes. A joy to read!”
—Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, professor of rabbinic literature, The Jewish Theological Seminary; author, A Delightful Compendium of Consolation
“Brings the colorful story up to date…. Anyone who loves books and history will relish this.”
—American Library Association’s Booklist
“For bibliophiles as well as historians; this is the kind of story that will set their hearts aflutter. Recommended.”