Oral Torah (Mishnah), Egypt, Cairo, 1041 CE / 4801/4802, Ink on parchment, On loan from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Friedberg MSS 9-001
These Mishnah (Oral Torah) leaves come from the Cairo Genizah, the famed storeroom discovered in a synagogue's attic containing 400,000 carefully preserved document fragments dating from the ninth to nineteenth centuries. In the Jewish tradition, sacred texts in Hebrew cannot be discarded, so the Genizah held these objects until they could be properly buried. This long-forgotten treasury of manuscripts, circulated across the Mediterranean and as far as South Asia, attests to centuries of close interaction among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. These leaves come from the Tractates Niddah and Ukzin, on Jewish laws of purity and impurity regarding the dead, food, and the body. Other leaves from the same original codex are now dispersed across collections worldwide.
Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library
Photographer Credit: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Materials: Ink on parchment
Friedberg MSS 9-001
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