Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ancient Jewish Scrolls discovered in Afghanistan cave

Ancient Jewish scrolls were discovered in a cave in Afghanistan’s Samangan province. This region is on the Silk Road, a trade route that connected Eastern Asia with the Middle East and Europe. The scrolls were part of a geniza, and may be up to 1,000 years old. A geniza, Hebrew for "hiding place," is a depository for sacred Hebrew books that are no longer usable. These depositories are often found in the attics and basements of synagogue.

from the Jpost:

Haggai Ben-Shammai, Professor Emeritus of Arabic Language and Literature at Hebrew University was quoted as saying. “In all, in my opinion, there are about 150 fragments. It may be the tip of the iceberg.”

One scroll, whose replica was shown to the cameras, is apparently a dirge written for an important person whose identity has not been determined.

“Where has he gone?” read the text. ”His family members are now alone.”

Besides the song of mourning other texts said to be found include an unknown history of the ancient kingdom of Judea, passages from the book of Isaiah and some of the works of Rabbi Saadia Gaon, a medieval sage.

This discovery may rival in significance, the discovery of the Cairo Geniza in 1896. The Cairo Geniza was located in the Ezra Synagogue built in 882 in Fostat

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