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Sacred Trash

ISBN: 9780805242584 | 0805242589
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Schocken
Pub. Date: 4/5/2011

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A story of buried scholarly treasure that rivals in drama, scope, and importance the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and sheds profound light on nine hundred years of Jewish life. One May day in 1896, at a dining room table in Camshy;bridge, England, a meeting took place between a Romanian-born maverick Jewish intellectual and twin learned Presbyterian Scotswomen, who had assembled to inspect several pieces of rag-paper and parchment. It was the unlikely start to what would prove a remarkshy;able, continent-hopping, century-crossing saga, one that in many ways has revolutionized our sense of what it means to lead a Jewish life. InSacred Trash, acclaimed essayist Adina Hoffshy;man and MacArthur-winning poet and translator Peter Cole tell the story of the recovery from a Cairo geniza (a repository for worn-out texts) of the most vital cache of Hebrew manuscripts ever discovered. Weaving together unforgettable portraits of Solomon Schechter and the other scholar-heroes of this drama with explorations of the medieval documents themselves-letters and poems, wills and marriage contracts, prescriptions, prayers, trousseau lists, bishy;bles, money orders, childrenrs"s primers, rabbinic responsa, amulets, and receipts-Hoffman and Cole present a panoramic view of a vibrant Mediterranean Judaism. Part biography and part meditation on the supreme value the Jewish people has long placed on the written word,Sacred Trashis above all a gripping tale of adventure and redemption.

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