Monday, January 2, 2012

Newly Discovered Jewish Scrolls? In Afghanistan?

Rumors have been flying around the internet about the discovery of 150 fragments. The site may have been a synagogue Geniza where disused scrolls were placed. If the find is authenticated, it would be the biggest such discovery since the Cairo Geniza. See my post on the Cairo Geniza.

So far little information is available but the Jerusalem Post had this to say over the weekend.

The scrolls, which were part of a geniza – a burial site for sacred Jewish texts – date from around 1,000 years ago and are in Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and ancient Persian.
One scroll, a replica of which was shown to the cameras, was apparently a dirge written for an important person whose identity has not been determined.
“Where has he gone?” reads the text. “His family members are now alone.”
Other texts said to have been found include an unknown history of the Kingdom of Judea, passages from the Book of Isaiah and some of the works of 10th-century sage Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon.
In addition, rings with names such as Shmuel Bar-Yosef inscribed in Hebrew on them have surfaced.
The area in which the scrolls were discovered is on the Silk Road, a trade route that connected eastern Asia with the Middle East and Europe, and that Jewish merchants often traveled.
Ya’ari quoted sources as saying the scrolls had first been moved to Pakistan’s Peshawar province, and from there been sold to antiquities dealers in Geneva, London, Dubai and Jerusalem.

You can read the whole article here.

I will add more as the information becomes available. Hopefully it is not another fraud as was the case with the Lead Codices last year.

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