Manuscript Rashi script old looking 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy of the Governors of Westminster College, )
Oxford is in talks with Israel’s Friedberg Genizah Project about participating
in an initiative to match widely dispersed fragments of documents found in the
Cairo Genizah a century ago, a spokeswoman for the university’s Bodleian Library
told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.
Head of communications Suzanne de la
Rosa said, “Here at Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, we have digitized all of our
Genizah fragments which are freely available online. We are happy to participate
in scholarly projects using the collection.”
She was responding to a
statement by Prof. Ya’acov Choueka of the Genizah Project to the effect that
Oxford has been unwilling to provide scans of its manuscripts, which Choueka
says are incredibly important to his work.
Talks with the university “did
not come to a happy end,” Choueka told the Post on Thursday.
Geniza was the document storehouse of the Ben-Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, a suburb
of Cairo until it was swallowed by the Egyptian capital’s urban sprawl. The
documents there were in large part carted off to England but significant
collections are also held in libraries and universities around the
The Genizah Project, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University,
which has donated use of it’s computing infrastructure, says that it has
achieved a breakthrough in matching disparate pieces of manuscript together
using high speed computational analysis.
However, de la Rosa said that
the Israeli computer scientist did not accurately represent the position of her
“The Bodleian Libraries have been approached by the
Friedberg Genizah Project and we are still in negotiations with them about
participation in this project,” she wrote.