Israeli library unveils ancient Afghan manuscripts 以色列圖書館公布古阿富汗手稿

Tue, Mar 05, 2013 - Page 10

A trove of ancient manuscripts in Hebrew characters rescued from caves in a Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan is providing the first physical evidence of a Jewish community that thrived there a thousand years ago.

Israel’s National Library unveiled the cache of recently purchased documents that run the gamut of life experiences, including biblical commentaries, personal letters and financial records. Researchers say the “Afghan Genizah” marks the greatest such archive found since the “Cairo Genizah” was discovered in an Egyptian synagogue more than 100 years ago, a vast depository of medieval manuscripts considered to be among the most valuable collections of historical documents ever found.

Genizah, a Hebrew term that loosely translates as “storage,” refers to a storeroom adjacent to a synagogue or Jewish cemetery where Hebrew-language books and papers are kept. Under Jewish law, it is forbidden to throw away writings containing the formal names of God, so they are either buried or stashed away.

The Afghan collection gives an unprecedented look into the lives of Jews in ancient Persia in the 11th century. The paper manuscripts, preserved over the centuries by the dry, shady conditions of the caves, include writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, Judea-Arabic and the unique Judeo-Persian language from that era, which was written in Hebrew letters.

(AP)

從阿富汗北部神學士根據地洞穴中所搶救出來的一批以希伯來文字寫成的古代手稿收藏品,首度提供了千年前曾有猶太人在當地生活的具體實證。

以色列國家圖書館公開了一批最近才購入、包含各種人生經驗的文件,包括聖經評論、私人書信及財務紀錄等。研究人員表示,這批名為「阿富汗書庫」的手稿是自一百多年前在埃及一所猶太教堂中找到「開羅書庫」以來所發現最重要的文件,開羅書庫指的是一批數量龐大的中世紀文稿,被視為有史以來最有價值的歷史文件收藏之一。

希伯來文的Genizah可被粗略譯為「貯藏室」,指的是在猶太教堂或墓園旁邊的一間貯藏室,用來存放希伯來文書籍和文件。根據猶太教法令,任何寫有上帝正式姓名的文件都不得被丟棄,因此這些文件多被埋在地底或貯藏起來。

這批阿富汗文件對十一世紀古波斯的猶太人生活提供了史無前例的深入紀錄。這些紙製手稿數世紀以來都在乾燥、陰暗的洞穴環境裡獲得良好保存,使用的文字包括希伯來文、亞蘭文、猶太─阿拉伯文,以及當時以希伯來字母寫成、獨特的猶太─波斯文。

(美聯社/翻譯:俞智敏)