The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Do the Genizah Fragments Constitute Independent Masoretic Collections? An Attempt to Evaluate Some Cambridge Fragments

Following analyses by Kahle and Diaz-Esteban, many of the Genizah fragments with masoretic lists are now considered to be fragments of the list collections "Sefer Okhla we-Okhla." However, an in-depth investigation of the Genizah material suggests that they do not necessarily constitute independent Masoretic collections as we know them from the two Ashkenazi recensions, "Okhla Halle" and "Okhla Paris." Even if the fragments contain many Okhla lists, their arrangements show only very slight similarities to those in the two Ashkenazi recensions. Important questions about the character and interdependence of the Genizah fragments as artifacts remain unanswered. In this paper, a new evaluation of the Genizah list material is attempted by using a few of the Cambridge fragments as a case study, taking philological, codicological, and paleographic aspects into consideration.