Medicine in medieval Egypt: creating online access to the medical corpus of the Cairo Genizah


  • University of Cambridge

Project summary

The Cairo Genizah (‘religious storeroom’) Collection at Cambridge University Library is the single largest and most important collection of medieval Jewish manuscripts in the world. Made up of about 200,000 leaves, its discovery 100 years ago revolutionised the study of medieval Judaism and our understanding of the broader economic, social and intellectual history of the Mediterranean world. There are also secular texts and a unique medical corpus of around 2,000 manuscripts, as well as numerous prescriptions, druggists’ notes and lists of materia medica. This project is to create detailed descriptive records of each medical item, eg author, date, geographical provenance and parallels in Arabic or other sources. It will be available through the university’s digital library.