Welcome to TreasureQuest!
Look through the treasures and answer the questions. You’ll collect jewels and for each level reached, earn certificates.
How far will you go?
You need an adult’s permission to join. Or play the game without joining, but you’ll not be able to save your progress.
Texts (about 300,000 altogether), mostly hand-written on parchment or paper in the Middle Ages.
The Cairo Genizah (ghen-ee-zah) is a huge collection of texts (about 300,000 altogether), mostly from the Middle Ages. Because Jews are not allowed to destroy anything with the name of God written on it, the Jews of the Old Islamic capital of Egypt, Fustat, which is now a suburb of Cairo, deposited them in a large storage room in their synagogue.
Leaves from bibles and prayer books – mixed in with letters and other scraps of writing – piled up in this storage room for 1000 years. The texts are mostly handwritten on parchment and paper, that has been torn into pieces, is caked in dirt, and has been eaten by insects.
The collection includes leaves from bibles and prayer books, as well as legal documents, such as marriage and divorce certificates, and a wide range of other writings from daily life, such as shopping lists, doctors’ prescriptions, magical amulets, and children’s schoolbooks.
To this day, according to Jewish tradition, texts with the name of God on them should not be disposed of casually, but gathered together respectfully and then buried in the ground.
The Cairo Genizah is a vast and random collection of written texts, from Egypt, Palestine and other places in the Middle East. Most of the texts were written by Jews.
The collection includes leaves from bibles and prayer books, as well as legal documents, such as marriage and divorce certificates, and a vast range of other writings from daily life, such as shopping lists, doctors’ prescriptions, magical amulets, and children’s schoolbooks.
Are there links to current religious practices or a modern equivalent?
The manuscripts were found in the Genizah [a ‘sacred storeroom’ in a synagogue where papers too holy to destroy are stored] of a very old synagogue in Cairo. To this day, according to Jewish tradition, texts with the name of God on them should not be disposed of casually, but gathered together respectfully and then buried in the ground. Because they had such a large storage room, the Jews of Cairo did not end up burying most of their writings, and instead the texts survived and can be read today.
The Cairo Genizah provides a window into Jewish life in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle Ages, especially everyday life. It is an important resource for understanding relations between Jews and Muslims in the Arab world at the time.
During the Middle Ages, it is estimated that 90% of the world’s Jews lived under Islamic rule and, for the most part, they had more freedom to practice their religion and played a greater role in society than the Jews of Christian Europe at the time. It also preserves Jewish religious literature, such as hymns and books of theology, which had previously been thought to have been lost.
The Taylor-Schechter Cairo Genizah Collection at Cambridge University Library is the world’s largest and most important single collection of medieval Jewish manuscripts.
More details on the finds. A particularly interesting fragment, unearthed by the research team or one of our Genizah colleagues worldwide.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Reif, Stefan C.
Hoffman, A., & Cole, P.
2011, Schocken Books
After an introductory episode on the discovery of the Collection, each episode deals with a specific topic, focussing on the historical documents and what they can tell us about the Mediterranean world of the Middle Ages.