Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cairo Genizah

Cairo Genizah Magen DavidPhoto_T_S_K5.13 reproduced by permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library
It shows an illustartion of a child's alphabet and it comes from Cairo Genizah, Egypt; 11th century(?); 

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version
showing the six-pointed star together with other typical Jewish symbols is a school writing exercise from the 10th Century B.C.E. found in the Genizah of Cairo. It shows, besides an exercise in the Hebrew alphabet, a Menorah (seven-branched candelabrum) with two six-pointed stars next to its shaft
It is unlikely that the pupil who made this drawing was guided by his own inspiration when he linked the stars to the Menorah. We may conclude that he gave expression to an attitude prevalent in his community, which saw the star on a par with the Menorah. Yet, even from such an attitude, we cannot conclude that the star was then a specific Jewish emblem, for it was also widely used by Muslims.


Ben said...

Eder gets the wrong end of the stick in his book. It is not the work of a pupil, but a textbook for pupils to copy from (as should be clear from the image!). So the Magen David here is the production of a professional scribe or teacher, not a child. We do, however, have examples of the Magen David appearing in or alongside children's exercises in the Genizah (e.g., a very crude one in Cambridge University Library T-S K5.19), but this is not one.

zeevveez said...

Thanks - great comment
I'll pass it on to Dr. Eder and I'm sure he'll fix it.