The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, October 26, 2014


Ancient papers discovered by chance in a cave two years ago shed light on Jewish life
Academic director of the National Library of Israel professor Haggai Ben-Shammai points to a projection of a document from a collection of discarded religious Jewish writings, discovered inside caves in a Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan, which date back from the 10th century during a press conference on January 3, 2013, at the national library in Jerusalem. The national library recently acquired 29 items from the collection, or Genizah, which contains the first-ever documentation of the religious, cultural and commercial life of the Jewish community in that era and area. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA.
JERUSALEM (AFP).- A cache of 1,000-year-old documents written by the Jewish community in Afghanistan and unveiled in Jerusalem on Thursday sheds unprecedented light on the mediaeval Jewish community in central Asia.

"This is the first time we have a large collection of documents representing the culture of the Jews who lived there" at the beginning of the 11th century, said academic director of the National Library of Israel, Professor Haggai Ben-Shammai.

The collection was discovered by chance in a cave inhabited by foxes some two years ago in northern Afghanistan.

The Afghan "Geniza," the Hebrew term for ritual Jewish disposal of documents with religious significance which cannot be thrown out but must be buried, contains hundreds of papers currently held by collectors and dealers around the world.

It was the farthest from Israel that such a discovery has been made, and the dry climate of the cave kept the papers in excellent condition.

The national library recently acquired 29 items from the cache from a dealer in Jerusalem, and on Thursday displayed them to the media.

Ben-Shammai said the collection is rich with documents, some in Arabic and some in Hebrew script in the Judaeo-Persian dialect, which was prevalent at the time, and also in Hebrew and Arabic.

In addition to being the first ever documentation of the religious, cultural and commercial life of the Jewish community in a central location on the trade route between China and the West, it also contains yet unseen commentary by 10th century commentator Saadia Gaon on the book of Isaiah.

"Until now, we had no documents testifying to the presence of Jews" in this part of the Persian cultural domain, Ben-Shammai said, adding that the library was preparing to make the documents available worldwide via the Internet.

jjm/srm


© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse





Today's News

January 4, 2013

Ancient papers discovered by chance in a cave two years ago shed light on Jewish life

Paintings hidden beneath Tudor portraits revealed through new National Portrait Gallery research

Ellsworth Kelly's series of colored paper images featured in exhibition at National Gallery of Art

Sotheby's New York Old Masters Week will be held from 29 January to 2 February 2013

Bozar Expo to present leading figures of European art: Neo Rauch, Antoine Watteau and Francis Bacon

Exhibition exploring 1,500 years of Buddhist art in Thailand opens at the Asian Civilisations Museum

From Victimage to Liberation: Works from the 1980s & 1990s by Nancy Spero opens at Galerie Lelong

Asheville Art Museum debuts two important exhibitions remembering the history of Nazi Germany

Bonhams to sell silver model of Bromley church made for renowned Kent gent

It's 'cash only' now for tourists at the Vatican; not yet complied with safeguards against money laundering

Exhibition of works spanning from 1970-2012 by Pinchas Cohen Gan on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Five free things to see and do in Lisbon: The port city on Europe's southwestern edge

Being Here: Recent work by several artists on view in group exhibition at Tim Van Laere Gallery

2013 program kicks off with cosmic light and energy show on Times Square billboards

Peru moving to protect fossils from car race

Stephen Pusey: A Way of Ending and Beginning to open at Guided By Invoices

Swedish artist Håkan Bengtsson exhibits at Galleri Lars Olsen in Copenhagen

Rare Stephen King book for auction in Maine

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site