Dr. Lameen Souag, at Jabal al-Lughat, has a post about “an unidentified Indic language in the Genizah collection”:

In 1896, Cambridge bought a huge archive of documents from a synagogue in Cairo, starting as early as the 11th century: the Genizah collection. Most of them are in Arabic in the Hebrew script – or just in Hebrew – but the rest cover a wide variety of languages. One of them should be an interesting puzzle for any readers familiar with South Asian languages: the fragment below is obviously in Devanagari or some derivative, but so far no one has been able to determine what language it is written in or what it says. Given the trade connections revealed by the letters, it would probably have come from Kerala, or maybe later on Bombay, but there are no guarantees…

If you know South Asian languages, see what you can do.


  1. Mark S. Glickman says

    Thanks for pointing us to this interesting manuscript. For an accessible account of the Cairo Genizah story – one which mentions this very manuscript – see my book, “Sacred Treasure: The Cairo Genizah,” (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011).

  2. Thanks for passing it on! So far it looks like it’s pre-modern Gujarati, but no reading yet…

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