Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Afghan manuscripts again

THE AFGHAN MANUSCRIPTS are covered in an article in Tablet Magazine:
War Papers

A trove of medieval scrolls, smuggled out of Afghanistan into the hands of London art dealers, could shed new light on a once-vibrant Jewish heritage

By Jonathan Lee|February 29, 2012 7:00 AM|6comments

Afghanistan for many people is synonymous with the War on Terror, radical Islamic movements such as the Taliban and al-Qaida, and a state of almost perpetual instability. However, recent reports of the discovery of some 150 medieval Judaeo-Persian manuscripts purporting to be from Afghanistan, possibly worth several million dollars on the open market, open a window to a very different place. At the same time, they offer scholars a chance to learn more about a little-known Jewish heritage. Though they cannot compare to the thousands of works of the Cairo Geniza or the Dead Sea Scrolls, these manuscripts are the most important cache of Jewish documents ever to have been found in Afghanistan.

There's nothing much new about the manuscripts themselves, but the article has a lot of background on Jews in Afghanistan at the time the manuscripts were produced, as well as later.

Background here and links.