What Ordinary Bibles Looked Like in Medieval Egypt

Between the 6th and 10th centuries CE, a group of scribes in and around the city of Tiberias—known as the Masoretes—worked to standardize the text of the Hebrew Bible, devising a system of diacritics (or “vocalizations”) and cantillation marks to convey the proper pronunciation and melody. By the early Middle Ages, their system won out over those of their competitors in the central part of the land of Israel and in Babylonia. The Masoretes produced complete manuscripts of the Bible not only with all necessary markings, but also with extensive marginal notes for scribes and scholars. While the Cairo Genizah has yielded fragments of these masoretic Bibles, it also contains numerous fragments of what scholars call “common Bibles,” used by ordinary Jews. Ben Outhwaite describes one such fragment:

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Read more at Taylor-Schechter Genizah

More about: Cairo Geniza, Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew Bible, Masoretes

 

Despite Reasons for Worry, Jews Shouldn’t Lose Faith in the American Promise

Sept. 24 2021

From synagogue shootings, to attacks on Jews on the streets, to the gathering strength and viciousness of anti-Zionism, especially in the corridors of political power, American Jewry has ample reason for concern about its safety and wellbeing. But, surveying both the present situation and the deep roots of what has made America a welcoming home to Jews with “no analogue in the 2,000 years after the destruction of the Temple,” Josef Joffe argues that the U.S. remains exceptional. The bad news, however, is still bad:

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Read more at Commentary

More about: American exceptionalism, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Chuck Schumer