at the Old Firehouse
Michael Hoberman, a Professor at Fitchburg State University, will read from & discuss his new book New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America. (UMass Press, Oct. 2011)
This reading will take place on Sunday, January, 22, 2012 at 2:00 PM at the Old Firehouse (7 Sugarloaf St.) in South Deerfield Center.
It is co-sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts & Schoen Books.
A mysterious adventure unfolds behind the bay doors of the 1930s WPA former firehouse. Those with a vivid imagination may bump into Franz Kafka reading an insurance text, Theodor Herzl reading a pamphlet on Palestine, Sigmund Freud pondering a sphinx, Gershom Scholem scribbling marginalia on mysticism, Uriel Weinreich deciphering Yiddishisms, and Bruno Schulz sketching under the sign of the crocodiles.
Tuesday, November 30th at 7:30 pm
at Schoen Books in the Old Firehouse at 7 Sugarloaf in South Deerfield
Free and open to the public
Schoen Books is proud to be presenting a celebration of Emily Toder’s translation of The Life and Memoirs of Doctor Pi by Argentine author, Edgar Bayley, out now from Northampton’s Clockroot Books and Nick Rattner and Mart del Pozo’s translation of Yván Yauri’s Fire Wind, forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse.
Edgar Bayley is a legendary Argentine concrete poet and fabulist. This is his first appearance in English. Doctor Pi is a sleuth without a crime. A flâneur on official business. Organizer of unknowable expeditions, lover of brunettes. Doctor Pi, with his frock coat, top hat, and uncommon blend of elation and discretion, is difficult to describe and impossible not to pursue. We follow him through a familiar and impossible world, whose logic equal parts comedy, poetry, and absurdity is a puzzle only Doctor Pi can solve. Emily Toder is the author of Brushes With (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2010). She will also be reading from her translations of Bayley’s poetry.
Nick Rattner and Marta del Pozo, fellow translators. will be reading from two contemporary Peruvian authors: Yván Yauri’s Viento de fuego / Fire Wind, which will be published by Ugly Duckling Presse in February and a selection from Czar Gutierrez’s novel 80M83RD3R0.
We are very pleased to announce the availability of a landmark work in Geniza Studies. Dr. Elazar Hurvitz has spent many years cataloguing the Geniza fragments at Westminster College in Cambridge, England. The result is this 2-volume masterpiece of scholarship, an essential reference work for scholars in the field.
Catalogue of the Cairo Geniza Fragments
in The Westminster College Library, Cambridge
by Elazar Hurvitz
(New York: Cairo Geniza Institute, Yeshiva University, 2006)
VOL. I: The Cairo Geniza. A Historical Introduction to the Antiquity and Discovery of the Geniza from Cairo, Egypt
VOL. II: Catalogue of the Cairo Geniza fragments in the Westminster College Library The Lewis-Gibson Collection. Including a detailed description and identification of over 2,500 fragments written in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic.
A forthcoming Vol. III will include the publication of selected texts from the Westminster College fragments. It will contain important discoveries in various fields of Jewish studies and supplementary material of fragments from the very same manuscripts that are scattered in other libraries which possess fragments from the Cairo Geniza.
Please contact Ken Schoen to order and arrange payment method (credit card, paypal or check accepted); universities can be invoiced.
*Click here to order directly*
HARDCOVER (in Hebrew with English Introduction in Vol. I)
Vol. I: 22, 172, XIII pp.
Vol. II: 23, 237 pp. + 40 pages of plates
Price for volumes I and II: $250.00 + S&H ($25 USA and $50 airmail foreign)
Description of Contents of Vols. I & II
Catalogue of the Cairo Geniza Fragments in The Westminster College Library, Cambridge
HISTORY & EVIDENCE:
Through the ages Egypt was a magnet for a variety of peoples and cultures. Among them also were the Jews, who arrived there after the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and continued to live there until today.
There are different proofs and pieces of evidence, literary and archaeological, for the presence of Jews in Egypt. The book of Jeremiah provides details from the Biblical period, the prophet himself having been among the exiles who came from Jerusalem to Egypt after the destruction of the First Temple. The evidence from the Greco-Roman period includes the written accounts of the Septuagint translation of the Torah, the consolidation of the apocryphal literature and Philo of Alexandria’s great works. The physical evidence includes archaeological discoveries pertaining to the Elephantine temple and its associated documents, Onias’ temple and Tel el-Yahudiyeh and the fragmentary remains of stone dedicatory tablets which point to the existence of synagogues in a number of Egyptian regions. There is also Philo’s testimony that there were many synagogues in the Jewish districts in Alexandria, the remains of which now likely lie beneath the sea. In the region of Cairo there is evidence for the existence of synagogues in al-Fustat and in the suburb of Memphis, which were built not much prior to the destruction of the Second Temple. The proofs for the cultural and literary flowering which took place in the Arabic period may be found in the tens of thousands of pages from different compositions in all Jewish subjects. These are the remains of entire works which became worn and torn from repeated use and which, on account of their holiness, were deposited in the attic of the Ben Ezra synagogue or in the burial caves of the al-Basatin cemetery. These fragments include remains from Biblical literature, the Oral Law, including Mishnah, Talmuds and Midrashic literature, liturgy and poetry, archival material belonging to the institutions of the Egyptian Jewish community and a variegated gallery of diverse personal letters.
In the same manner that the Alexandrian Jewish literature of the Greco-Roman period marks the boundary between the canonization of Biblical literature and its translation into Greek and its literary and historical exegesis through the apocryphal literature and its continuations, the literary remains found in the Cairo Geniza represent the transition from the closure of a stage in the development of the Oral Law, which began at the end of the Amoraic period in Babylonia, to the growth of a new layer whose goal was to categorize the Halachic and exegetical aspects of the early sources, to create a new layer of exegesis, to translate earlier material into Judeo-Arabic, to formulate the various prayer books, to compose Halachic codices on the basis of Geonic responsa and to create new works, such as those of Alfasi, Maimonides and their continuators.
Volume I describes all of the stages and adventures connected with the discovery of the Geniza, the personalities tied to its uncovering and transfer of its material to places throughout the Western world as well as its roots in the Ben Ezra synagogue in al-Fustat and the ancient geniza caves in the al-Basatin cemetery. The volume provides a detailed history of the Westminster College Geniza collection, including the activities of the Lewis-Gibson sisters, who spread word of the existence and importance of the Cairo Geniza in contemporary newspapers and in their biographical books. Additionally, this volume presents a wide-ranging historical study of the history of the Ben Ezra synagogue, in whose attic the pages of the Geniza were deposited, and of the antiquity and physical integrity of the structure of the synagogue, or parts of it, from ancient times to the present. In the process, the volume lays out research into the history of a number of synagogues in al-Fustat and Memphis, with the intention of proving that the settlement of Jews in the region of Old Cairo and its environs may already be found in the Biblical period and that the establishment of these synagogues is identical in point of time to that of the synagogues in Alexandria and the Fayyum and may perhaps even predate them.
The Cairo Geniza fragments of the Lewis-Gibson sisters’ collection, in the Westminster College Library were among the first to arrive in Cambridge. This collection is remarkable for its relatively well-preserved state and for its forming a representative sample of the contents of the Cairo Geniza as a whole. The fragments include biblical texts and their translations and exegesis, Mishnaic, Talmudic, Midrashic and Halachic works composed by the Babylonian Geonim, Alfasi and Maimonides, a very wide selection of Jewish religious poetry and liturgy, and philosophical and grammatical treatises. In addition, there are official documents along with personal correspondence between residents in Egypt and those in lands circling the Mediterranean Sea and the Geonic centers in Babylonia. This collection was one of the first to be the subject of scholarly and historical studies, which led to a proper assessment of the importance of the Cairo Geniza for Jewish studies. The cornerstone of this development was the discovery in this collection of a half page of Hebrew text of the apocryphal book of Ben Sira.
The present catalogue is a pioneering one in the field of Geniza research and cataloging in that it provides:
1. A full identification of each fragment or an exact description of its content when identification is impossible,
2. A consistent recording and accurate bibliography for each fragment which has already been published or utilized in scholarly editions,
3. The discovery and identification of leaves or fragments from the same manuscripts which are found in other Cairo Geniza collections and which continue or fill in existing gaps in the Westminster College fragment,
4. Guidelines for recording all of the subjects covered by the Geniza, so that researchers may know in detail the contents and characteristics of each fragment, even if the fragment or a reproduction thereof may not be present before them.
Dr. Elazar Hurvitz is the Dr. Samuel Belkin Professor of Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University. He has studied the texts in the Cairo Geniza for many years and has published numerous studies on them, including: “Seridim mi-Toratam shel Geonim ve-Rishonim” (1989) and an edition of Maimonides’ “Mishneh Torah” restored from hitherto unknown pages found in the Cairo Geniza (1985). He has published texts from the literature of the Rishonim, which also incorporate fragments from the Geniza. He is also the editor of the studies of Philo’s writings by his teacher, the late Rabbi Dr. Samuel Belkin, President of Yeshiva University, the first volume of which appeared in 1989.