07 October 2008

Armenia: Hebrew manuscripts found

A collection of Hebrew manuscripts is being studied in Armenia. It appeared in the AZG Armenian Daily, in the Science section, here, noted on PaleoJudaica.blogspot.com (written by James Davila).

An old collection of Hebrew manuscripts in Matenadaran includes those brought from Etchmiatsin in 1940. The old collection was enriched during the 1920s-50s; some 21 manuscripts are registered. In 1969, Dr Yosif Amusin - of the Russian Academy of Science's Institute of Oriental Studies - studied 13 of these.

According to the article, there also appears to be a new collection of more than 100 18th century parchment scrolls brought from Ukraine in the 1980s, although this article focuses on the old manuscripts. In March 2008, a new researcher in Matenadaran, Ruzan Poghosian - who studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - began working with the 21 manuscripts noted above.

Among the seven items studied for the first time, she found a Sanskrit manuscript received from Varuzhan Malatian in 1967.

In a 185-page leatherbound manuscript, she found not just copies of Old Testament writing, but interpretations of both Old Testament and Talmud sections. The report said that there were several unfamiliar titles found as well, such as one called "After Death" (akharey mavet), about which she could not locate any information.

The manuscript is written in small, strange and "illegible" handwriting, according to the report. More skills are required to work with it and the article indicates that a collaboration needs to be established with the Jerusalem Instistute of Hebrew Manuscripts.

The old collection manuscripts include sections from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Esther. There are also three amulets that, according to the researcher, provide a way to study comparison of such written amulets in Armenian.

If more information becomes available, Tracing the Tribe readers will read about it.

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