The first discovery of Judaeo-Syriac: T-S K14.22
The presence in the Cairo Genizah of manuscripts written in Syriac has been known since the earliest days of Genizah research, with the sisters Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson publishing some of the first discoveries in their book, ‘Palestinian Syriac texts from palimpsest fragments in the Taylor-Schechter Collection’ (Cambridge 1900). As the title indicated, Syriac had found its way into the synagogue storeroom as the undertext of palimpsests, the parchment having been reused to write piyyuṭim, the Palestinian Talmud and other rabbinic works.
T-S K14.22, a small parchment leaf, is not among their Syriac fragments, and righty so, since it is not in the Syriac script. The great scholar of Genizah medicine Haskell Isaacs originally catalogued it in his ‘Medical and Para-Medical Manuscripts in the Cambridge Genizah Collections’, describing it as materia medica in Aramaic – a list of medicinal substances. And so it is. But when I examined the text, I read this phrase with great interest: