Mauro Perani

Professore ordinario di Lingua e letteratura ebraica
Alma Mater Studiorum, UNIVERSITA' DI BOLOGNA
Sede di Ravenna
Dipartimento di Storie e Metodi per la Conservazione dei Beni Culturali

Direttore del "Progetto Ghenizà italiana"
Segretario dell'Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo (AISG)

The “Italian Genizah”

University of Bologna

General description and report on the research1*

After the discovery of the Cairo Genizah at the end of the XIX century, the discovery of a similar European Genizah was largely the utopic dream of the scholars of the Old Continent. But the European humid climate, such as the widespread Jewish use of bury the old manuscripts in the moist earth of cemeteries, were the decisive causes of the decomposition and destruction of about all the thousends of Hebrew manuscripts belonged to the Jews settled in European countries. Nevertheless, this dream came true in the last two decades, by a twist of fate, particularly in Italy, thanks to the re-employment of parchment Hebrew manuscripts and to the inquisitorial confiscations of Hebrew books carried out in the Counter-reformation period.

In fact the discovery of thousands of Hebrew manuscript fragments in Italy has recently aroused a growing interest: they were used as covers of archival volumes in what has been defined as the “Italian Genizah”, in analogy with that discovered in Cairo. The phenomenon of the re-employment of materials of every kind of manuscript was well known during the whole period of the Middle Ages and becomes part of such a re-employment of every kind of book’s material known since ancient times. This was done in order either to rewrite or for other purposes, as regards papyrus, leather and, above all, parchment. This was a material commonly re-employed either for re-writing after washing the ink of the pre-existing text or for more humble purposes such as book binding, mainly in the XVI and XVII centuries. Thousands of Italian, Greek and Liturgical manuscripts have undergone this treatment, from which even Hebrew manuscripts were not exempt.2

Following the interest shown in the Italian and Israeli scientific milieu aroused by various very important findings of the 70's, in July 1981 the late Professor Joseph Sermoneta, zikrono li-vrakah, promoted in Italy a “Project for the research, cataloguing, restoration and photographing of medieval Hebrew manuscript fragments found in the bindings of volumes in Italian Archives and Libraries”. At the beginning of the 80's we set to work by systematically examining a large part of the State Archives, of Libraries and other private and ecclesiastical archives. There were thousands of findings, more than the most optimistic expectations. The phenomenon is present also in other European countries, but not as consistently as in Italy. In Italy, in fact, for well known historical reasons, in the XIV and XV centuries many Jews immigrated from other European regions as a result of persecution or expulsion, and obviously they carried their manuscripts with them. As opposed to about 1,700 fragments found up to now in all the other European countries, of which about 700 in Germany, 500 in Austria, 170 in Hungary and about 150 in Spain, only in Italy at the present state of research - that is far from being conclusive - over 8,000 fragments have been discovered. Of this large number 4,800 have been found by the writer in Emilia Romagna alone, less than 300 by P. F. Fumagalli in Lombardy, while the late A. Luzzatto found 100 of them in Latium and less than 400 in the Marches.3 The updated distribution of the findings in Italian regions is as follows: Emilia Romagna 4,800, Marches 614, Lombardy 373, Latium 106, Tuscany 48, Sicily 21, Umbria 76, Venezia 13, Piedmont 8, Abruzzi e Molise 3 and Campania 1. As clearly it appears, the regions in which the phaenomenon is most relevant are the central and northern ones. The diffuse opinion that the re-employment of Hebrew manuscripts were particularly concentrated in the territories of the Church State is not confirmed by the distribution of the fragments, since more than 40 percent have been found in Modena, where ruled the duchy of Este that was outside the Ecclesiastical territories. The highest number of fragments has been found in Modena (over 3,000), Bologna (about 850), Nonantola (348), Pesaro (207), Cremona (200), Imola (157), Correggio (136), Macerata (85), Viterbo (80), Urbino (67), Carpi (60), Pavia (54) and Cento (50). Besides the cataloguing of the minor collections, among the most consistent which have been published are the catalogues of Viterbo, Imola, Nonantola, Cremona,4 Cento, Bologna and Modena (Archivio Storico Comunale).5

It is important to point out that when in the “Italian Genizah” we talk of “fragments” we mean, almost always, whole folios or bifolios; in only a small cases they are smaller fragments or strips of cutted pages. Moreover all of the fragments are from parchment folia, being paper manuscripts not suitable to be re-employed as cover.

As far as the research methodology is concerned, the first step is to make in each archive an inventory of all the registers or volumes bound with leaves of parchment Hebrew manuscripts. This work is actually very hard if we think that some of the major Archives could contain more than 20 or 30 km. of shelves. The second phase is the photocopying or microfilming - if possible - all the folia, which are sent to The Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts at The Jewish National and University Library where they became part of the collection “J. Sermoneta”, the late promoter of the Research-Project on Hebrew Fragments in Italy. The third one is the identification of texts, cataloguing and dating the fragments, reassembling the fragments belonging to the same manuscript, and cataloguing them. Various data are also entered on card, relating to the measuements, type of parchment, the color of the ink, the ruling and pricking techniques, type of script and the italian or latin titles written by italian archivists or notaries and date of the records contained in the register bound by the manuscript. In some cases the manuscripts have been detached from the registers and restored long time ago or more recently. The detachment enables the fragment to be examined more closely, best if the text is preserved in both the inner and the outer side of the cover. This is not the case of the about 2,500 folia found in the Modena area, since the Modenese binders generally erased the Hebrew text on the outer sides of the covers, in order to make the recycled parchment resemble more its new and much more costly equivalent. Sometimes with the aid of ultraviolets rays some part of the erased text become readable.

As far as the typology of the discoveries is concerned, they are all membranaceous manuscripts, whose sheets or bifolios were dismembered and re-employed as covers to bind volumes and registers belonging to notaries and other functionaries. The sheets of Hebrew manuscripts were also recycled to bind incunabul and other printed books. In fact I found in Emilia Romagna about 150 printed editions from the XVI century, which were bound with Hebrew manuscripts during the XVII century by Modenese binders: of these over 100 are in the “Biblioteca Estense” in Modena. An interesting phenomenon is the re-employment not only of parchment folia of manuscripts, but also of folia dismembered from Hebrew incunabula printed on parchment. In fact I found in the Archives of Nonantola and Cento some bifolia of the first edition of the Bible, printed in Bologna in the year 1482, such as of the Torah with various commentaries printed in 1490 in the spanish town of Iijar. These holy books were used properly as real books only for about a century.

The phenomenon of re-employment spread chronologically from the second half of the XVI century and throughout the XVII. Already the christian Hebraist Giovanni Bernardo De Rossi (1742-1831), professor of Oriental languages at the University in Parma pointed out the re-employment as bindings of Hebrew manuscripts. Recently my co-researcher Saverio Campanini has pointed out to my attention an interesting memory of his chilhood written by Konrad Pellicanus (1478-1556) in his autobiography Chronicon vitae ipsius ab ipso conscriptum (Basel edition of 1877, p. 15) regarding his first approch to the Hebrew language just seeing manuscripts recicled as bindings: “(...) Haec omnia visa, audita, lecta, puerum me, et jam adulescentem, sollicitabant ad discenda hebraea, si quae occurrerent vel membranae, quibus nostri codices ligabantur”. At best of my knowledge this is one of the first historical evidence of such a re-employment, to be added to that of Shemuel da Medina (XVI century) and of Rabbi Jospa Hahn (XVII century) already mentioned by B. Richler.6

Contrary to what was commonly assumed, the single archivists or local notaries did not dismember themselves the manuscripts to bind their own registers with the parchment folia obtained. From the research it is clear that the registers were packaged and bound in bookbinder's establishments in the main towns. They were later sold by the cartularii to the notaries and to various institutions in the region. This is proved by the fact that sheets belonging to the same manuscript have been found in places quite distant from each other but in the same region. The most significant sample is the finding of two sheets from the same manuscript containing the Sefer Mordekay with commentaries, one of them was found in Modena, while the other one in the Archives of the Curia in Mantua.

But where did the bookbinders find so many Hebrew manuscripts to re-employ in this way? If we analyze the period in which the phenomenon of re-employment is most wide-spread, that is the XVI and XVII centuries, we soon realise that it is linked to the spread of printing. Indeed, print determined the slump in the price of manuscripts, which had become obsolete, often difficult to read and requiring a long time and a lot of money for production; obviously clear and fine printed editions à la mode and more economically accessible were preferable. On the basis of the chronological connection between the confiscation of Hebrew books made by the ecclesiastical authorities and the time of their re-employment, there is a tendency to assume the inquisitorial origin of part of the Hebrew manuscripts dismembered, which would have been bought by bookbinders at a low price instead of being burnt.

The manuscripts found are datable on paleographic evidence back to the XI until XV century. The hundreds of different manuscripts represented constitute a valuable contribution giving new material to Hebrew paleography and codicology. Some texts, preserved in many other manuscripts such as biblical ones, may acquire particular value because of their antiquity. This is the case of dozens of pages from a Bible in Italian square script dating back to the XII or even the XI century, among whose fragments appear n. 1 and 2 from Nonantola7 and many other in three other Modena Archives. This is perhaps the most ancient preserved manuscript produced in Italy.

As far as the subject are concerned, I wish to refer to the data of the Nonantola collection, one of the biggest which has been catalogued and which can constitute a valuable example in general. About 33% of the fragments belong to biblical manuscripts, 28% to Halakic literature represented by the traditional Sifre Mitzwot; 15% containing biblical commentaries, 8% Mishnah, Talmud, and other talmudic compendia, while 7% represent philosophy and Qabbalah; 4% contain dictionaries or lexicographical works, 3% scientific texts about medicine, astronomy and geometry and, finally, 2% liturgical texts.

A characteristic of the “Italian Genizah” is the heterogeneity of the origin of the fragments. While, in fact, the fragments found in Austria and Germany are exclusively Ashkenazic and those of the Iberian peninsula are Sefardic, those found in Italy are partially of Italian origin (over one third), partially Ashkenazic (about one third) and also Sefardic (less than one third). As already pointed out, this fact reflects the waves of Hebrew immigration to Italy from other European regions. This triple typology of the writings, well represented either in square or in semicursive script, with some rare exceptions in cursive, is connected with the various techniques of ruling, pricking and the composition of quires. Most of the fragments come from what can be considered the typical works contained in Jewish libraries of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance; that is, the Bible, the Talmud and prayer books. Among other works there are those which had become more popular among the Jews, like the Mishneh Torah, the talmudic dictionary Sefer he-‘Arukh of Nathan ben Yehiel, the biblical and talmudic commentaries of Rashi, the halakic work Pisqe ha-Rosh of Asher ben Yehiel, the Sefer Mitzwot Gadol of Mosheh of Coucy and the Sefer Mitzwot Qatan of Yitzhaq of Corbeil.

But let us now examine the most important findings. The over 350 sheets of Talmud Bavli which can be recomposed in 150 otherweise unknown manuscripts, as well known, are of great importance. Among them many bifolios I found in Emilia Romagna belong to Sefardic manuscripts of the XII and XIII centuries, often earlier than the München manuscript. The largest number of these have been found in the Bologna State Archives where I have discovered over 88 including folios and bifolios, besides some fragments of Talmud Yerushalmi, of the Mishnah and of the Tosefta. Other talmudic fragments have been found in Bazzano, in Cremona, in Imola, in Latina and other towns.8 A very important find are the 18 fragments - almost all complete bifolia with the Hebrew text erased on the external sides of the covers - belonging to the same Mishnah manuscript in Italian sqare script of the XII century. This very important manuscript was dismembered and re-employed as covers of registers all similar one to the other in the second decade of the XVII century by the same bookbinder in Modena to cover, using the same technique, some records bought by the archives in Nonantola, Modena and Correggio where the fragments have been discovered.9 This way the parchment folia were preserved from complete destruction until I had the venture to find them. The writing is vocalized, in very old type of script and the size of the manuscript is also much broader than high. The text is of Italian-Byzantine type and presents various similarities with the Kaufmann codex, generally considered the oldest and most accurate reading of the work in our hands. The writing, the phonetic and morphological characteristics of Hebrew, put this manuscript into the Palestinian textual and linguistic tradition. A certain sensitivity to the Greek language is present, the same Greek that was spoken in Palestine or in southern Italy: one of the fragments from Nonantola, which contains a part of the treatise Pesahim is the only manuscript together with the Kaufmann manuscript which still keeps the original version of a passage prescribing to cut the sacrificed animals using the Kòpis; in all the editions and in a few Mishnah manuscripts this lesson has been altered. Some fragments found in Fano, in Pesaro and in Fermo have a certain importance because they preserve unpublished pieces of the Rashi talmudic and biblical commentaries and also a Greek gloss.

One folio and two minor fragments found in Norcia, dated from the X century and written in square oriental script, constitute the most ancient witness of this work now in our hands.10 Two entire bifolios for a total of 8 pages of a sephardic manuscript of the Tosefta from the XIII century have been reacently found by the writer in Bologna State Archive (frr. 14 and 375). They contain a section from Kippurim and Rosh ha-Shana and sheds new light on the textual tradition of this work, showing a considerable concordance with the Vienna manuscript and an ancient form of Rabbi names reflecting the Palestinian tradition preserved only in these fragments in which is not present the process of harmonization with the Mishnah and Bavli which the Erfurt manuscript has undergone.11

In the State Archives in Pesaro the only recomposition of about a whole manuscript has been found: it is a French Mahazor in Ashkenazic writing dating back to the XIII century of which about all the 82 sheets have been found. The manuscript, copied from a text written probably by a disciple of Yosef ben Yehiel from Paris, is a unicum because it explains the liturgical tradition used by the Jews of north-eastern France. It is a rare document because the French Jews, expelled from France in 1396, then adopted the liturgical minhagim of the countries where they went to live. The Pesaro Mahazor contains also piyyutim, some of which are unknown, by French authors, among which one by Rabbenu Tam kept in very few other manuscripts. The publication of this Mahazor, that is going to appear edited by Hillel Sermoneta and Angelo Piattelli, will provide new information of great interest to the study of Jewish liturgy, its development in Europe during the Middle Ages and the hymnographic knowledge of that period.

Unlike the fragments found in the Cairo Genizah, in those discovered in Italy previous unknown works are not numerous, but a certain number of unknown texts have been found in the field of liturgy and biblical exegesis. This arises because most of the prayers and biblical commentaries composed in the XI and XII centuries and not “canonized” sank into oblivion and have been irremediably lost. Fragments of an unknown commentary to the Proverbs in Ashkenazic writing of the XIV century have been found in the State Archives in Imola (fr. 18.1):12 in the same archives I have found an entire bifolio, the centre pages of the quire, a total of four pages of text containing most probably the unknown commentary of Yosef ben Shim‘on Kara to the Psalms in Ashkenazic semicursive writing of the XIII century (fr. 17.1). The commentary goes from the beginning of Psalm 1 to 17. Professor Avraham Grossman has recently studied some fragments belonging to this same manuscript found in the State Archives in Bologna and one in the archives in Imola respectively containing parts of the commentaries on Deuteronomy and Exodus. He has proved that this is the original lost Perush la-Torah of the same Yosef Qara, denying the claim supported by most scholars that this author did not write any commentary on the Torah, but that he would have only glossed that of Rashi.13 Other fragments of this manuscript have been found in Pieve di Cento containing a commentary on Micah and Osea. In my opinion even these must be assigned to Yosef Qara: if they are not his original commentary on the Minor Prophets, they contain at least large parts of it, and this is clearly pointed out by the direct quotations from interpretations by his paternal uncle Menahem ben Helbo.14 Some fragments of the Halakic Midrashim Sifre and Sifra are also very important, of which have been discovered ten entire pages, six in Nonantola (frr. 217-225) and four pages in the Capitolare Archives in Modena (fr. 49), all belonging to the same manuscript in sefardic semicursive writing from the XIII century.15 Five pages from a XIII century ashkenazic manuscript containing the Sefer Even ha-Ezer of Eliezer ben Natan, whose work has been preserved only in two or three other manuscripts (Nonantola, frr. 234-238), are also interesting as are four pages of the commentary of Shelomoh ben ha-Yatom to the talmudic treatise Mo‘ed Qatan, also found in Nonantola (frr. 325-326); otherwise this is only preserved in one manuscript in New York at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Of great importance are also 8 pages from a lost commentary on talmudic treatise Neziqin, reacently found in Bologna State Archive (frr. 268 and 443) and attributed by Simcha Emmanuel to a friend of Rashi.16 Some fragments of scientific works concerning medicine, astronomy and philosophy have also been found; among these there are four pages of an unknown philosophical work containing a logical treatise with a criticism of the Hebrew translation of Moreh ha-Nevukim by Shemuel Ibn Tibbon, also found in Nonantola (frr. 189-191).17

In the State Archive in Modena a page of Mahazor has been found with two notes of censorship by “Fra Luigi da Bologna” in 1601 and “Camillo Jaghel” in 1613 (fr. 128). In the same archive the sequent interesting note of ownership is contained in a page: Ani Shelomoh mi-Melli ben Yehudah mi-Melli toshav be-Viadana. Micrographical ornamentation of the Masorah like as of capital letters of Incipit is also well attested. Two wonderfull exemples were found in the Bologna State Archive: an Incipit of Leviticus, with illuminated animal and floral motifs (Fr. 640) and another one Incipit of Psalms with a splendid micrographic motifs of leopards, lilys and doves (Fr. 44), both from two ashkenazic manuscripts from the XIV century.

I conclude this report with perhaps one of the most interesting fragment found in the “Italian Genizah”. It is that of six pages containing an unknown Hebrew translation of Yonah ibn Janah's Sefer ha-Shorashim found in the Historical Archives of Nonantola (frr. 171-172) and Modena (frr. 48-49). The bifolia, used to bind registers, belong to the same Italian manuscript from the XIII century.18 Unfortunately, in all the fragments the text on the outer side of the binding has been completely erased, following to a very common practice among the bookbinders from Modena area. The translation of Ibn Tibbon was the only one known to exist till now, preserved in only two manuscripts. In a conclusive note at the end of his work Ibn Tibbon says that he has seen another three translations of the work made before him, two of which only from the letter alef to lamed. The discovery of the fragments found in Modena has also allowed us to identify, through the comparison of the common part containing the letter waw, the Vatican Hebrew Ms. 417, catalogued by Assemani and Allony as an anonymous Sefer ha-Shorashim: as a matter of fact it contains the same translation. As a rule, the translation is more concise than Ibn Tibbon's; the translator follows the order of the work step by step, without omitting any root. The author of this translation is probably the third translator mentioned by Ibn Tibbon, namely Yitzhaq ben Yehudah Barceloni.

I would like to conclude this note with a hint of some problems linked to the project and to future proposals. First of all an increase in the number of research workers that could conclude the census of the fragments is necessary, since the research cannot be considered near to conclusion. The fact that in some areas, as in Modena, the parchment sheets re-employed have been erased on the outer side of the bindings, so that the text has been kept only on the inner side, is moreover a considerable problem. In order to read and photograph it, it is necessary to detach the bindings from the registers they cover. Moreover there is at this regard the clash of two opposing positions that we could define as that of the book archeologist and that of the text archeologist. The former consider that it is not possible to detach the bindings, because they constitute an important document in the book history that should be preserved. The text archeologist, on the other hand, considers saving the manuscripts to be more important, many of which are the unique remnants of lost works, essential for the critical editions of some texts. Up to now, only compromise solutions have been found and only important fragments have been detached.

Up to now some regions remain to be examined, specially in northern and southern Italy. In some cases the inquiry begins by sending to all municipal or ecclesiastical archives a letter with a set of questions asking if Hebrew fragments already detached or being covers of registers are known to the archivist. That is the case of all parish archives of the Modenese diocese. In some cases the answer was positive and new fragments were found.

This research hes been recently named Mif‘al ha-Fragmentim ha-‘Ivriyym be-Italia ‘al shem Yosef Baruk Sermoneta (Progetto frammenti ebraici in Italia alla memoria di Giuseppe Baruch Sermoneta), the promoter of this project. It is supported by the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities, by the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts in Israel, and by the Centro Ricerche sul Giudaismo Italiano (CRIGI) in Italy. I want to express my thanks to Prof. I. Ta-Shma and to the Director of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts B. Richler for the almost everyday work-excanges. Thanks also to the Israel Academy of Sciences and to all the Israeli scholars which devote themselves to the study of the Italian fragments, for the friendly scientific cooperation. Very many thanks we have to express to the Italian Institutions, for their substantial economic support to the project, with which it has been possible to detache and restore all the Hebrew manuscripts re-employed as covers of the registers of some important Archives.

After cataloguing the small collections, more comprehensive catalogues embracing all the archives in the same town or area will be published. In these, all the fragments belonging to the same manuscript can be put together. The final aim of this project is the publication of a single complete catalogue of all these disiecta membra found in Italy, which would enrich the precious treasury of medieval Hebrew manuscripts kept in libraries throughout the world.



Cassuto U., Frammenti ebraici in archivi notarili, in «Giornale della Società Asiatica Italiana», 27 (1915), pp. 147-157 [Firenze, AS; Rieti, AN].


Friedmann K., I manoscritti ebraici della R. Università di Firenze, in «Giornale della Società Asiatica Italiana», 3 (1932), pp. 193-208: 193 [Firenze, B. Facoltà di Lettere].


Perani M., Frammenti di manoscritti ebraici nell’Archivio Storico Comunale di Imola, in «Henoch», 10 (1988), pp. 219-234 [cat.].


Pavoncello N., Pergamene ebraiche nell’Archivio di Stato di Roma, pubblicazione celebrativa in occasione del matrimonio di G. Nahum e D. Anticoli, Roma, 30 Tisrhì 5750-29 ottobre 1989, pp. 1-6:5s, con una riproduzione fotografica del frammento nell’ultima tavola numerata [cat.].

Perani M., Frammenti di manoscritti ebraici nell’Archivio di Stato di Parma, in «Henoch», 11 (1989), pp. 103-108 [cat.].


Perani M., Frammenti di manoscritti ebraici nell’Archivio di Stato di Faenza, in «Henoch», 12 (1990), pp. 227-229 [cat.].

Sarfatti G. Ben-Ammi, Dappim mi-tok ketav-yad shel ha-Mishnah mi-‘Genizat Italia’ [Fogli di un codice della Mishnah provenienti dalla “Genizah italiana”] (in ebraico), in «Italia» 9 (1990), parte ebraica pp. 7-36.


Zatelli I., Frammenti di manoscritti e altri testi ebraici a Firenze, in G. Tamani e A. Vivian (edd.), Manoscritti, frammenti e libri ebraici nell’Italia dei secoli XV-XVI, Atti del del VII Congresso dell’AISG, San Miniato 7-9 novembre 1988, AISG testi e studi 7, Roma 1991, pp. 227-254 [Firenze AS, B. di Lettere e Filosofia, B. Medicea Laurenziana, B. Nazionale Centrale].


Perani M., Frammenti di manoscritti e libri ebraici a Nonantola, Archivio Storico Nonantolano 1, Ausilio Editore - Bottega D’Erasmo, Nonantola-Padova 1992 [cat., 67 tavv. b/n].

Id., Frammenti di manoscritti ebraici medievali nell’Archivio Storico Comunale di Corinaldo (Ancona), in «Henoch», 14 (1992), pp. 301-306 [cat.].


Perani M., Manoscritti ebraici medievali riutilizzati come copertine nell’Archivio Storico Comunale di Pieve di Cento, in Gli ebrei a Pieve di Cento. Testimonianze e memorie storiche, in «Quaderni pievesi», 7, Pieve di Cento 1993, pp. 65-102, 27 tavv. b/n. [cat.].

Id., Inventario dei frammenti di manoscritti medievali della Mishnah, della Tosefta e del Talmud rinvenuti negli archivi italiani, in G. Busi (a cura di), We-Zo’t le-Angelo. Raccolta di studi giudaici in memoria di Angelo Vivian (AISG), Testi e studi 11), Bologna 1993, pp. 369-394 [inv. con indicazione dell’archivio e descrizione del contenuto].


Perani M., Manoscritti e frammenti ebraici copiati o conservati a Cento e Pieve di Cento, in Gli ebrei a Cento e Pieve di Cento fra Medioevo ed Età moderna, Atti del convegno di studi storici, Cento 22 aprile 1993, Cento 1994, pp. 93-156, 18 tavv. b/n [cat.].

Perani M. e Stemberger G., Nuove luce sulla tradizione manoscritta della Tosefta: i frammenti rinvenuti a Bologna, in «Henoch», 16 (1994), pp. 227-252.

Sarfatti G. Ben-Ammi, Dappim nosafim mi-ketav yad shel ha-Mishnah [Nuove pagine da un manoscritto della Mishnah] (in ebraico), in «Italia» 11 (1994), parte ebraica pp. 9-38.


Emanuel S., «Genizat Eropa» u-terumatah le-madda‘e ha-Yahadut [La «Genizah europea» e il suo contributo agli studi giudaici] (in ebraico), in «Madda‘e ha-Yahadut-Jewish Studies», 35 (1995), pp. 5-29.

Fumagalli P.F. - B. Richler, Manoscritti e frammenti ebraici nell’Archivio di Stato di Cremona, CRIGI, IV, Roma 1995; recensione di M. Perani in «Henoch» 18 (1996) pp. 225-228.

Grossman A., The Early Sages of France, Jerusalem 1995, pp. 290-305 [sui frammenti di Bologna e Imola dei commenti biblici perduti di Yosef ben Shimon Qara].

Kahana M., Manuscripts of the Halakhic Midrashim: An Annotated Catalogne (in ebraico), Jerusalem 1995 [include i frammenti del Sifra, Sifre e Mekilta rinvenuti a Modena e Nonantola].

Perani M., Un decennio di ricerca dei frammenti di manoscritti ebraici in Italia: rapporto sui rinvenimenti e bibliografia, in «Annali di storia dell’esegesi», 12/1 (1995), pp. 111-128.

Permani M., La «Ghenizàh» italiana: migliaia di frammenti ebraici rinvenuti negli archivi italiani, in «Gazette du livre medieval», n. 26, Printemps 1995, pp. 18-26.


Perani M., Un tesoro ritrovato. Centinaia di manoscritti medievali degli ebrei di Bologna riciclati nel Cinquecento come copertine di registri rinvenuti negli archivi della città, in «Bologna ieri, oggi, domani», Anno V, n. 6/1996, pp. 60-65.

Id., Documenti sui processi dell’Inquisizione contro gli ebrei a Bologna e la loro tassazione alla vigilia della prima espulsione (1587-88), in M.G. Muzzarelli (ed.), Verso l’epilogo di una convivenza. Gli ebrei a Bologna nel XVI secolo, Firenze 1996, pp. 245-284 [sui roghi di libri ebraici a Bologna].

Id., Un convegno internazionale sui frammenti ebraici rinvenuti negli archivi italiani (la «Ghenizàh italiana») e sul loro contributo allo studio del giudaismo, Gerusalemme 9 gennaio 1996, in «Rassegna degli Archivi di Stato» 56 (1996), pp. 104-118; pubblicato anche in «Rivista biblica» (it.) 44 (1996), pp. 493-503 e «La rassegna mensile di Israel» 63 (1997), pp. 185-198.

Id., Frammenti del commento perduto di Abraham ibn Ezra o di un suo discepolo a Geremia ed Ezechiele dalla« Genizah» di Bologna, in «Henoch» 18 (1996), pp. 283-326.

Id., Vestigia della cultura ebraica a Bologna tra Medioevo e Rinascimento nella testimonianza dei manoscritti, in «Italia» 12 (1996), pp. 89-139.

Id., Dieci anni di ricerca dei frammenti di manoscritti ebraici in Italia. Bilancio, prospettive, pubblicazioni in corso, in «Materia giudaica». Bollettino dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo, 1996/1, pp. 18-21.


Emanuel S., The «European Genizah» and its Contribution to Jewish Studies, in «Henoch», 19 (1997), pp. 285-313.

Perani M., La «Genizah italiana». Caratteri generali e rapporto su quindici anni di scoperte, in «Rivista biblica» (it.) 45 (1997), pp. 31-70.

Id., The «Italian Genizah». An updated report on fifteen years of research, in «EAJS newsletter», European Association for Jewish Studies, Issue 2, October 1996 - February 1997, pp. 15-22.

Imd., Opere sconosciute o perdute dalla «Genizah italiana», in «Materia giudaica». Bollettino dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo, 1997/3, pp. 17-23.

Perani M. – Campanini S., I frammenti ebraici di Bologna. Archivio di Stato e collezioni minori, «Inventari dei Manoscritti delle Biblioteche d’Italia», vol. 108, Leo S. Olschki Editore, Firenze 1997, pp. 162, 200 tavole b/n [Bologna, cat. AS e altri archivi].

Perani M. – Campanini S., I frammenti ebraici di Modena. Archivio Storico Comunale, «Inventari dei Manoscritti delle Biblioteche d’Italia», vol. 110, Leo S. Olschki Editore, Firenze 1997, pp. 78, 16 tavole a colori e 100 b/n [Modena, cat. ASC].


David A. and Tabory J.(edd.), The Italian Genizah (in ebraico, italiano e inglese), Proceedings of the Conference held under the auspices of The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Jewish National and University Library of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, January 9, 1996 (17 Teveth 5756), Jerusalem 1998.

Ghisalberti C., Ricordo di G. B. Sermoneta, in The Italian Genizah, pp. 7-12.

Perani M., I frammenti ebraici in Italia: sintesi dei lavori del convegno, in «The Italian Genizah», pp. 13-28.

Perani M., Nuove importanti scoperte dalla «Genizah italiana» nell’ultimo anno (1997), in «Materia giudaica». Bollettino dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo, 1998/4, pp. 48-53.

Tamani G., Un frammento di un manoscritto ebraico nella Biblioteca Statale Isontina, in «Studi Goriziani», Rivista della Biblioteca Statale Isontina di Gorizia, 85 (gennaio-giugno 1997), pp. 111-116.


Baroffio G., Frammenti liturgico-musicali negli archivi italiani, in Perani M. (a cura di): La “Genizah italiana”, edizione italiana ampliata ed aggiornata degli atti del convegno di Gerusalemme del 9 gennaio 1996, Il Mulino/Alfa Tape, Bologna 1999, pp. 227-238 (versione italiana dell’originale ebraico, apparso in Ha-Genizah ha-Italqit, Orhot Press, Gerusalemme 1998).

Beit-Arié M., I frammenti ebraici della «Genizah» di Bologna, ibid., pp. 241-244 (versione italiana dell’originale inglese apparso in I frammenti ebraici di Bologna. Archivio di Stato e collezioni minori, «Inventari dei Manoscritti delle Biblioteche d’Italia», Vol. CVIII, Leo S. Olschki Editore, Firenze 1997, pp. 11-13).

Campanini S., Frammenti di opere cabbalistiche nella «Genizah italiana», ibid., pp. 201-209 (versione italiana dell’originale ebraico, apparso in Ha-Genizah ha-Italqit, Orhot Press, Gerusalemme 1998).

Emanuel S., La «Genizah europea» e il suo contributo agli studi giudaici, ibid., pp. 21-64.

Id., La «Genizah europea». Tra speranza e realtà, ibid., pp. 103-122.

Engel E., Alcune note sulla paleografia della “Genizah” italiana, ibid., pp. 253-259.

Ead., I cataloghi dei frammenti ebraici di Bologna e di Modena, ibid., pp. 275-283.

Frenkel V., Frammenti ebraici nell’Archivio Storico del Comune di Lodi, ibid., pp. 211-214.

Grossman A., L’importanza della «Genizah italiana» per lo studio dei commenti biblici di Yosef Qara, ibid., pp. 123-147.

Kahana M., Pagine di Midrashim halakici negli archivi di Nonantola e di Modena, ibid., 163-178.

Perani M. (ed.), La «Genizah italiana», edizione italiana ampliata ed aggiornata (70 pagine di appendici) degli atti del convegno di Gerusalemme del 9 gennaio 1996, Il Mulino/Alfa Tape, Bologna 1999, pp. 334 e 32 tavole a colori.

Id., La «Genizah italiana». Caratteri generali e stato della ricerca, ibid., pp. 65-102.

Id., Il più antico frammento della «Genizah italiana»: la Tosefta di Norcia (ca. 1000 e.v.). Rilievi codicologici e paleografici, ibid., pp. 261-265.

Id., I frammenti ebraici scoperti in Italia: censimento degli archivi e bibliografia aggiornati al 1998, ibid., pp. 285-304.

Id., Un nuovo importante giacimento nella «Genizah europea»: gli archivi di Girona, ibid., pp. 305-313.

Id., A new “Genizah” for the new century. Hebrew Manuscript Fragments in the European Archives: The New Findings of Girona in J. Targarona Borrás and A. Sáenz-Badillos (Edd.), Jewish Studies at the Turn of the 20th Century, Proceedings of the 6th EAJS Congress, Toledo 1998, Leiden-Boston-Köln 1999, vol. I: Biblical, Rabbinical, and Medieval Studies, pp. 621-626.

Id., Un atto di ripudio localizzato e datato a Weinheim nel 1278 in un manoscritto del Sefer Mitzwot Gadol di Mosheh da Coucy, in «Henoch» 21 (1999), pp. 307-311.

Id., Fragments from the “Italian Genizah”. An Exhibition, Jerusalem Jewish National and University Library December 12, 1999 – January 12, 2000. Catalogue edited by Mauro Perani, Crevalcore 1999.

Id., Un nuovo importante giacimento nella “Genizah europea”: gli archivi di Girona, in «Materia giudaica», Bollettino dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo, 1999/5, pp. 45-49.

Id., Il reimpiego dei manoscritti ebraici. I frammenti ebraici rinvenuti presso l’Archivio Storico Comunale di Modena e il loro contributo allo studio del giudaismo, in F. Bonilauri e E. Maugeri (a cura di), Le comunità ebraiche a Modena e Carpi, Atti del convegno di Modena e Carpi, 21-22 maggio 1997, Giuntina, Firenze 1999, pp. 67-78.

Perani M. e Campanini S., I frammenti ebraici di Modena, Archivio Capitolare – Archivio della Curia, e di Correggio, Archivio Storico Comunale, «Inventari dei Manoscritti delle Biblioteche d’Italia», Vol. CXI, Leo S. Olschki Editore, Firenze 1999, pp. 250, 16 tavole a colori e 100 in b/n.

Radicchi P. e Zolesi I., Codicum fragmenta. Sul ritrovamento di antiche pergamene negli Archivi di Stato di Massa e Pontremoli (sec. XII-XV), con la collaborazione di Rav. Hillel M. Sermoneta, Edizioni ETS, Pisa 1999, pp. 217-220.

Richler B., Frammenti di testi sconosciuti nella «Genizah italiana», in M. Perani (a cura di), La «Genizah italiana» cit., pp. 215-225 (versione italiana dell’originale ebraico, apparso in Ha-Genizah ha-Italqit, Orhot Press, Gerusalemme 1998).

Rosenthal D., Il contributo della «Genizah italiana» alla critica testuale della Mishnah, del Talmud babilonese e del Talmud palestinese, ibid., pp. 185-199.

Sirat C., Le bibbie ebraiche dell’Archivio Storico Comunale di Modena, ibid., pp. 245-251 (versione italiana dell’originale francese apparso in I frammenti ebraici di Modena. Archivio Storico Comunale, «Inventari dei Manoscritti delle Biblioteche d’Italia», Vol. CX, Leo S. Olschki Editore, Firenze 1997, pp. 11-14).

Sussmann Y., I Frammenti talmudici della «Genizah europea», ibid., pp. 149-161 (versione italiana dell’originale ebraico, apparso in Ha-Genizah ha-Italqit, Orhot Press, Gerusalemme 1998).

Stemberger G., I frammenti della Tosefta di Norcia e il loro contributo alla studio della tradizione testuale, ibid., pp. 267-273.

Ta-Shma I., Introduzione, ibid., pp. 15-19.

Sarfatti G. Ben-Ammi, Un importante manoscritto della Mishnah nella «Genizah italiana», ibid., pp. 179-183.


Perani M., Nuove importanti scoperte nella “Genizah italiana” nell’ultimo biennio (1999-2000), in «Materia giudaica», Bollettino dell’Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo, 2000/6, pp. 21-25.


Engel E., I frammenti di Bazzano alla luce della codicologia e paleografia ebraiche, in Perani M. (a cura di), I frammenti ebraici di Bazzano. Un piccolo tesoro nella «Genizah italiana», Atti del forum internazionale, Bazzano (Bologna), 25 Maggio 2000, in «Materia giudaica». Rivista dell’associazione italiana per lo studio del giudaismo, VI/2 (2001), pp. 205-219.

David A., La «Genizah» di Bazzano: una breve panoramica, ibid., pp. 200-204.

Perani M., I manoscritti ebraici, le loro vicissitudini e la loro «morte». A proposito dei frammenti di Bazzano, ibid., pp. 193-199.

Perani M. – Stemberger G., The Yerushalmi Fragments Discovered in the Diocesan Library of Savona, in «Henoch» 23 (2001), pp. 267-303.


Beit-Arié M., The Contribution of Medieval Hebrew Manuscript Fragments to Hebrew Codicology, in M. Perani e C. Ruini (curr.), Fragmenta ne pereant. Recupero e studio dei frammenti di manoscritti medievali e rinascimentali riutilizzati in legature, Ravenna, Longo editore 2002, pp. 83-88.

David A., Hebrew Documentary Material in the European Genizah: a Preliminary Discussion, M. Perani e C. Ruini (curr.), Fragmenta ne pereant, pp. 121-129.

Emanuel S., The Contribution of Hebrew Manuscripts Fragments to our Knowledge of Italian Jewry, in M. Perani e C. Ruini (curr.), Fragmenta ne pereant, pp. 43-50.

Engel E., Evolutionary Stages of Medieval Hebrew Scripts as Reflected in the «European Genizah», M. Perani e C. Ruini (curr.), Fragmenta ne pereant, pp. 89-119.

Perani M., Codicum hebraicorum fragmenta. I manoscritti ebraici riusati nelle legature in Italia, in M. Perani e C. Ruini (curr.), Fragmenta ne pereant, pp. 51-74.

Richler B., The Dispersion of Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts and its Significance for Understanding the Phenomenon of Hebrew Membra Disiecta, in M. Perani e C. Ruini (curr.), Fragmenta ne pereant, pp. 75-81.

Ta-Shma I., Qit‘e Tosafot Rid mi-Genizat Italia [Frammenti delle glosse talmudiche di Rabbi Isaia di Trani dalla ‘Genizah italiana’], in «Kovez al Yad», 16 (26, 2002), pp. 187-197.

1 * This artile is an updated version of the lecture delivered at the International congress held in Jerusalem in the aula magna of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities on January 9, 1996 on the subject: The Hebrew Fragments in Italy and their Contribution to the Study of Judaism. for a general complete bibliography on the «italian genizah», see at the end of this article.

2 For this see E. PELLEGRIN, Fragments et Membra Disiecta, in J. P. GUMPERT, M. J. DE HAAN, A. GRUYS (edd.), Litterae textuales, Codicologica 3, Essais typologiques, Leiden 1980, pp. 70-95.

3 The data updated to 1988 is presented in the reports delivered at the VII International Congress of the Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo and published in the proceedings of the same: G. TAMANI and A. VIVIAN (edd.), Manoscritti, frammenti e libri ebraici nell'Italia dei secoli XV-XVI, San Miniato 7-9 november 1988, Rome 1991. Data about the findings in Emilia Romagna can be seen in M. PERANI, Frammenti di manoscritti ebraici nell'area modenese, in E. FREGNI and M. PERANI (edd.), Vita e cultura ebraica nello stato estense, Nonantola-Bologna 1993, pp. 65-79 and in contributions of C. Sirat and B. Richler here presented. For a complete bibliography of the research and some information about its history I refer to my own articles I manoscritti ebraici della “Genizah” Italiana. Frammenti di una traduzione sconosciuta del Sefer ha-Shorashim di Yonah ibn Janach, “Sefarad”, 53 (1993) pp. 103-142, and Un decennio di ricerca dei frammenti di manoscritti ebraici in Italia: rapporto sui rinvenimenti e bibliografia where all the catalogues of collections published to date are quoted. For a general description of the “European Genizah” see the excellent article of Simha Emanuel, “Genizat Eropa” u-terumatah le-madda‘e ha-Yahadut, “Madda‘e ha-Yahadut” 35 (1995), pp. 5-29.

4 P.F. Fumagalli-B. Richler, Manoscritti e frammenti ebraici nell’Archivio di Stato di Cremona, Roma 1995.

5 See M. Perani - S. Campanini, I frammenti ebraici di Bologna. Archivio di Stato e collezioni minori, Inventari dei Manoscritti delle Biblioteche d’Italia, vol. 108, Firenze 1997; M. Perani - S. Campanini, I frammenti ebraici di Modena. Archivio Storico Comunale, Inventari dei Manoscritti delle Biblioteche d’Italia, vol. 110, Firenze 1997.

6 See B. Richler, I frammenti di manoscritti ebraici negli archivi e nelle biblioteche d’Europa e d’Italia, in Vita e cultura ebraica, quoted above, pp. 49-63: 52-53.

7 See the catalogue published by M. PERANI, Frammenti di manoscritti e libri ebraici a Nonantola, Nonantola-Padova 1992.

8 For the complete list of Talmudic fragments see M. PERANI, Inventario dei frammenti di manoscritti medievali della Mishnah, della Tosefta e del Talmud rinvenuti negli archivi italiani, in G. BUSI (ed.), We-zo’t le-Angelo, Raccolta di studi giudaici in memoria di A. Vivian, Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Giudaismo, Bologna 1993, 369-394.

9 The Nonantola fragments of this manuscript have been published by G. BEN-AMMI Sarfatti, Dappim mi-tokh Ketav-yad shel ha-Mishnah mi-”Genizat Italia”, in “Italia” 9 (1990), pp. 7-36; ID., “Dappim nosafim mitok ktav-yad shel ha-Mishnah be-Italia”, in “Italia” 11 (1994), pp. 9-38.

10 M. PERANI Il Più Antico Frammento Della “Genizah Italiana”: La Tosefta Di Norcia (Ca. 1000 E.V.). Rilievi Codicologici e Paleografici, In M. Perani (Ed.), La “Genizah Italiana”, Bologna, Il Mulino/Alfa Tape 1999, pp. 261-265; G. STEMBERGER G., I frammenti della Tosefta di Norcia e il loro contributo alla studio della tradizione testuale, ibid., pp. 267-273.

11 See M. PERANI – G. STEMBERGER, nuova luce sulla tradizione manoscritta della Tosefta: i frammenti rinvenuti a Bologna, in “Henoch” 16 (1994) pp. 227-252.

12 Of this fragment I have published an Italian translation and the Hebrew text, respectively: M. Perani-A. Somekh, Frammenti ebraici di un commento medievale sconosciuto a Proverbi e Giobbe, in “Annali di storia dell'esegesi”, 9/2 (1992), pp. 589-610 and M. PERANI, Frammenti di un commento medievale sconosciuto a Proverbi e Giobbe nell'Archivio di Stato di Imola, in “Henoch”, 15 (1993) pp. 47-64.

13 See A. Grossman, Mi-'Genizat Italia'. Seridim mi-Perush Rabbi Yosef Qara la-Torah, in “Peamim”, 52 (1992), pp. 16-36; ID., Genuze Italia u-ferushaw shel Rabbi Yosef Qara la-Miqra, in S. Japhet (ed.), Ha-Miqra be-re’i mefareshaw-Sefer zikkaron le.Sarah Qamin, Yerushalayim 1994, pp. 335-340.

14 For this see my article Frammenti del commento originale di Yosef ben Shim‘on Qara a Osea e Michea, in “Annali di storia dell'esegesi”, 10/2 (1993) pp. 615-625.

15 These fragments have been included in the complete list of all manuscript and fragments of the Halakhic Midrashim recently published by M. Kahana, Manuscripts of the Halakhic Midrashim. An Annotated Catalogue, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities - Yad Izhak ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 1995, pp. 100-101 (Hebrew); their text is near to that of Ms. Berlin and of Midrash Hakamin.

16 See Simha Emmanuel, “Genizat Eropa” u-terumatah le-madda‘e ha-Yahadut, quoted above, p. 18.

17 For this see M. ZONTA, I frammenti filosofici di Nonantola, in E. FREGNI and M. PERANI (edd.), Vita e cultura ebraica nello stato estense, quoted above, pp. 123-147.

18 For this see B. RICHLER, Targum nosaf shel Sefer ha-Shorashim meet R. Yonah ibn Janach, in “Kirjath Sepher”, 63 (1990/91), pp. 993-995; ID., Qeta‘im mi-kitve-yad nosafim shel targum ha-bilti yadua‘ shel Sefer ha Shorashim le-R. Yonah ibn Janach, ibid., pp. 1327-1328. I have published the Hebrew text in my article I manoscritti ebraici della “Genizah Italiana”, quoted above.

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