1,000,000 manuscripts written by the oldest Silk Road family found in Afghanistan

Almost 100 mysterious manuscripts that are believed to have been 1000 years old and written by a Jewish family that lived along the ancient Silk Road were discovered in an Afghan cave. Scientists and historians are delighted with this new cache of documents that was purchased by an Israeli antiquarian dealer Lenny Wolf six months ago. He came across them as part of the ongoing search for the “Afghan genesis,” a reference to the collection of 300,000 Jewish manuscript fragments from the Cairo Geniza, found in the synagogue in Egypt.

@MoMacProject #cairo #genizah 13th c pic.twitter.com/WxTnB3CazP

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As Haaretz writes, these new documents, written in a multitude of languages, including Aramaic, Hebrew, Persian, Judeo-Arab and Judaic Persian, belong to the 11th century family led by Abu Ben Daniel from the northern Afghan city of Bamyan.

They would be well acquainted with the two largest sights then and 15 years ago – giant Buddha statues built in the 6th century and blown up by the Taliban six months before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Wolfe first bought 29 documents in 2013, and he returned to Israel, where they studied at the National Library.

Sale of the relic: a manuscript of 1700 years ago, found on eBay https://t.co/BmNBSKt9TF pic.twitter.com/p1QxgymGgS

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Since then, HPP has been searching for more documents from the familys archive, at the request of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and bought a new batch six months ago.

Although Wolfe has yet to find a buyer from what he calls “the relevant institution,” his understandable negotiations continue, and his asking price is unknown.

Experts believe that documents containing only text and illustrations were originally buried in the cave about 1000 years ago by the owners, and the cache consists of a mixture of legal and commercial manuscripts and sacred and personal letters.

Wolfe came across a photo of documents “from southern Russia,” according to the newspaper “Haaretz”, and then learned in a European coffee house that the Pakistani merchant has some of the ancient artifacts.

Of the documents that have been studied to date, Ophir Haim, a researcher at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, says that they give an exciting insight into the life of the Jewish community in Afghanistan of that time, for example, where they lived, worked and functioned as a family.

Financing #ISIS without knowing it: stolen relics from Syria go to Western markets https://t.co/BehCMIg5Ma pic.twitter.com/G2mTymZoKs

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One of these translations, written by Ham, describes how a man named Yair wrote to the head of the Abou Nassar family about why he did not return to see his family in Bamyan.

If I could make a living in Bamyan, it’s true that I would fulfill your wishes, – says Jirsa’s letter, Haaretz reports. You know that in my lesson, if I’m absent from the store during the day, that day I will lose everything.

Eggplants were not yet in abundance, so I did not send them. They were very small. I will send [some] next week, Yair wrote in another letter, hinting at another reason why he lives in Bamyan.

The last Wolfe party also has a notebook that Abu Nassar used to track all those who owe him money for several decades, some of which not only owe money, but also the amount of wheat or barley.

Several hundred entries, mostly containing the names of Muslims, but containing the names of Iranian Jews, allow historians to see how society worked at that time, especially the economic problems they faced, and how different religions intersected in everyday life.

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