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“Popular literature found in the Genizah – between originality to adaptation” with Dr Rachel Hasson

The first seminar in our series, Dr Hasson explores the popular Judaeo-Arabic literature found in the Cairo Genizah.


The Genizah contains a treasure of manuscripts that include essays from various fields of knowledge. The manuscripts are of great importance to the study of the history, culture, literature, spiritual life, and daily life of the communities that lived around the Mediterranean basin in medieval to pre-modern Arab-speaking countries. The lecture will focus on the large selection of popular stories and poems written mainly in Judaeo-Arabic (Arabic written in Hebrew letters) found in the Genizah. The texts are diverse and most of them are totally unknown. In terms of content, the texts are especially important as they are extant as a source for understanding the vivid cultural relationship between Jews and their surrounding Muslim environment. The popular
literature in the Genizah reflects a strong intercultural closeness between the Jewish communities and their Muslim environment that can be attested at various levels: in texts copied directly from Arabic sources, in texts adapted by the Jewish community for different purposes and in texts composed against the background of the Jewish community’s close relationship with the encircled
Muslim society.


  • March 25, 2021
  • 1700
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