Tag Archives: sacred trash

The Holy Junk Heap

Solomon Schechter studying the fragments from the Cairo Geniza, Photo via Cambridge University Library.

Adina Hoffman & Peter Cole | Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza | Schocken | April 2011 | 18 minutes (4,838 words)


Below is an excerpt from the book Sacred Trash, by Adina Hoffman & Peter Cole, as recommended by Longreads contributor Dana Snitzky.

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Cambridge, May 1896

When the self-taught Scottish scholar of Arabic and Syriac Agnes Lewis and her no-less-learned twin sister, Margaret Gibson, hurried down a street or a hallway, they moved—as a friend later described them—“like ships in full sail.” Their plump frames, thick lips, and slightly hawkish eyes made them, theoretically, identical. And both were rather vain about their dainty hands, which on special occasions they “weighed down with antique rings.” In a poignant and peculiar coincidence, each of the sisters had been widowed after just a few years of happy marriage to a clergyman. Read more…