About the project

"Books within books: Hebrew Fragments in European Libraries" is a European network of scholars working on fragments of medieval Hebrew books and documents recovered from book bindings and notarial files in various libraries and archives in Europe, Israel and USA. Hebrew manuscripts are important and often unique witnesses of Jewish presence and intellectual activities in medieval Europe. Only a small percentage of the books and writings produced in the past have been preserved. The corpus of fragments reused in bindings has considerably enriched our knowledge of medieval Hebrew manuscripts. Thousands of such fragments have been identified in various libraries and collections in Austria, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and Czech Republic. The richness and diversity of this corpus, referred to as well as the 'European Genizah', by analogy to the treasure trove of Hebrew fragments recovered from the Cairo Genizah, offers a unique opportunity to reconstruct the history of the Hebrew book and of the Jewish communities in Medieval Europe.

Aims of the project

This European network has two main objectives:

- To provide a framework for collaboration and exchange between existing projects in various European countries, and to diffuse news about major scientific events and publications concerning Medieval Hebrew manuscripts 

- To provide a systematic inventory and description of the Hebrew fragments in a series of Catalogue publications and as an online database accessible to registered users

History and structure of the project

The European network was created in 2007 as the initiative of the chairpersons of several projects which have been carried on at a national level or in a specific library or archive. Several projects have been carried on for many years and have already elaborated a database and/or inventories of Hebrew fragments, others are at a less advanced stage of research. The numbers of fragments identified in each country vary from several dozen (Switzerland) to several thousand (Italy). Coordinated from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, France, the network includes today some twenty partners in eight countries.

BwB thanks the following institutions and foundations for their logistic and financial support:



Logo EPHE Logo SAPRAT-EPHE Logo Biblissima v2 Logo Universita di Bologna

l'IRHT- Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des TextesLogo Huma-Num

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VIIe journée d’études doctorale et post-doctorale en paléographie et diplomatique hébraïques

Monday November 23, 2015

Archives, Genizah et recyclage des manuscrits dans la culture juive

Hidden Treasures from Europe, vol. 1

Friday October 9, 2015

Hidden Treasures from Europe, vol. 1, by Emanuel Simcha, Mekize Nirdamim, Jerusalem 2015

Call for Paper / EAJS Lab June 2016

Tuesday March 24, 2015

"Research Approaches in Hebrew Bible Manuscript Studies. A Critical Overview Based on Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Cairo Genizah and European Genizah" / 6th to 8th June 2016, MMSH, Aix-en-Provence

5 Rue du Château de l'Horloge 

13094 Aix-en-Provence