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A Selection of Manuscripts at Cambridge University Library, Introduced, Transcribed, Translated, and Annotated, with Images. Cambridge Genizah Studies Series, Volume 7
Author: Stefan C. Reif
Jewish Prayer Texts from the Cairo Genizah, which sets a new tone for future studies, consists of a selection of transcribed and translated Genizah fragments that contain some of the earliest known texts of rabbinic prayers. Reif describes in detail the physical makeup of each manuscript and assesses the manner in which the scribe has tackled the matter of recording a preferred version. He then places the prayer texts included in the manuscript within the context of Jewish liturgical history, explaining the degree to which they were innovative and whether they established precedents to be followed in later prayer-books. He offers specialists and more general readers a fresh understanding of the historical, theological, linguistic, and social factors that may have motivated adjustments to their liturgical formulations.
In: Vetus Testamentum
In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Stefan C. Reif

Abstract

Schechter appreciated the significance of his liturgical finds in the Genizah but important contributions were carlier made in Oxford by Adolf Neubauer, and his nephew, Adolf Büchler. Publication of such fragments progressed in Europe, and leading figures were Ismar Elbogen and Jacob Mann. In the U.S.A., Louis Finkelstein attempted to reconstruct the "original" Second Temple versions of the amidah and the grace after meals. More recently, Naphtali Wieder has analysed hundreds of fragments that permit comparisons of the Palestinian and Babylonian rites while Ezra Fleischer has questioned Joseph Heinemann's theory about the existence of equally valid alternatives of the standard prayers in the talmudic period, and produced a major monograph on Eretz-Israel customs. Note should be taken of variant methodologies, of the contributions of younger scholars, and of new theories inspired by a century of Genizah finds. One of the remaining questions, being dealt with by Reif, assesses how the physical medium has affected the development of content. Recent research traces how the single leaf evolved into the codex, how the private individual became the professional scribe, and how brief and provisional notes turned into formal, and virtually canonized, prayer-books.

In: Medieval Encounters
In: A Universal Art. Hebrew Grammar across Disciplines and Faiths
In: Genesis, Isaiah and Psalms
In: The Damascus Document: A Centennial of Discovery