Friday, April 26, 2019

New Fragments of MS London-Ashkar

In the most recent issue of Genizah Fragments, the newsletter of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Mordechai Veintrob presents exciting new identifications of Cairo Genizah fragments from MS London-Ashkar. This confirms that the scroll originally came from the Genizah, and the identified contents now preserve close to 10% of the Torah, including fragments from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (primarily clustering into two groups containing Gen 44-Exod 3 and Exod 8-17). Relatively securely dated to the 7th-8th centuries (by C14 and paleography), this manuscript is by far the most substantially preserved biblical manuscript between the DSS and the famous Masoretic codices from the 10th-11th centuries (Veintrob is somewhat imprecise in his description at this point). Congratulations to Veintrob on these important discoveries! The total inventory of fragments according to Veintrob now include:

  1. Cambridge, T-S AS 36.30 — Gen. 10:28–13:9; 
  2. Cambridge, T-S AS 36.31 + Cambridge, T-S AS 37.26 — Gen. 44:23–46:20;
  3. Cambridge, T-S AS 37.1 + Cambridge, T-S AS 37.22 — Gen. 47:17–50:23; 
  4. Cambridge, T-S AS 36.36 —Exod. 2:14–3:21; 
  5. London, Jews’ College 31 — Exod. 9:18–13:2; 
  6. Cambridge, T-S AS 36.19 + Cambridge, T-S AS 37.8 + Durham, Duke University, Ashkar Collection 2 — Exod. 13:2–16:1; 
  7. Cambridge, T-S NS 282.88 — Exod. 17:5–18:14;
  8. Cambridge, T-S AS 36.10 — Num. 10:16–35; 
  9. Durham, Duke University, Ashkar Collection 21 — Deut. 2:9–3:12;
  10. Cambridge, T-S AS 37.10 + ENA 4117.13 — Deut. 32:50–end of the Pentateuch.


  1. Hi Drew, thanks for posting this interesting news. Do you think there will be near-term access to online images of the new texts?

  2. Steve, the images of most of the fragments should already be available on the Friedberg Genizah site:

    You can register for free access if you are interested. I haven't checked them yet myself.

  3. Thanks Drew. I registered but so far I’m having difficulty navigating to the right collection... I’ll keep at it :-)