Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
One May day in 1896, 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 remarkable saga, and one that has revolutionized our sense of what it means to lead a Jewish life. JBW 2012 hosted the UK launch of the highly acclaimed Sacred Trash, with Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman, whose book tells the story of what is arguably the greatest discovery of Jewish manuscripts ever made.
“A small masterpiece. The romance of Hebrew scholarship has never been so vividly conveyed. This book is extraordinary in characterization, thought, and prose style. It will teach common readers, Jewish and Gentile, how much spiritual tradition owes to the greatest scholars. This teaching comes through delight.” Harold Bloom
Peter Cole’s most recent book of poems is Things on Which I’ve Stumbled. His many volumes of translations include The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492. The recipient of many awards for his work, including the TLS Hebrew translation prize, he was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2007.
Adina Hoffman is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood and My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century, which was awarded the 2010 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize. She is also the recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship.
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