אני יהודה בן משה הנקדן מזרחי בן יהודה הגבור איש נפתלי ממשפחת השלמי אשר גלתה עם הושע המלך ישראל עם שבטי שמעון ודן וקצת משפחות שאר שבטי ישראל אשר הגלה הצר שלמנאצר משומרון ובנותיה לחלח היא בחלה וחבור היא חבול והרר היר היראת וגוזן היא גוצנה מדינות גלות בני ראובן וגד וחצי מנשה שגלם פלנאסר והושיבם שם ומשם נפוצו על פני כל ארץ המזרח עד סינים.
This document was declared as forgery by Jewish Orthodox scholars (Dr A.Harkavy, and later by Israeli Prof.D.Shapira in his "The Mejelis 'document' and Tapani Harviainen on scholarship, Firkowicz and forgeries, pp. 303-393 in OMELJAN PRITSAK ARGAMANI. A tribute to Omeljan Pritsak. Sakarya, 2007), while it was accepted as genuine by Eastern European Qaraim before the Bolshevik revolution, as well as by some Western scholars (for example, Prof.T.Harviainen in his 'The epigraph of the Derbent Torah and the Madjalis scroll discovered by Abraham Firkovich in 1840', pp. 55-78, Studia Orientalia).
Prof.Dan Shapira, accusing Eastern European Qara'im in creating of false historiography and claiming that both documents are forgeries of A.Firkovich, wrote that to 'M.Sultansky, A. Firkowicz and S.Beim, it states that the origins of the Eastern Karaites are different than those than of the rest of the Jews'. Disagreeing with this, he continues that according to them 'the Eastern European Karaites are an ancient branch of the Judaeans and Israelites - not the Lost tribes! [footnote19. The theory on Karaite origins in the Lost Tribes goes back to Gustaf Peringer and English millenarians, cf. P.B.Fenton, 'The European Discovery of Karaism in the 16th to 18th c', in 'Karaite Judaism', Leiden 2003, pp 3-7] - who separated from the rest in the 8th century BCE and had no contacts with the rest of the Jews until 1000 CE'.
The history of those documents are described by Tapani Harviainen in the above mentioned article, pp 55-58, 75 where he wrote that in 1840 Abraham Firkovich, alias Even-Reshef, visited Dagestan [on Caspian See, North Caucasus province of Russia, former Khazar kaganate, G.Q], in particular the city of Derbent and the village of Madjalis. In the former city he discovered and purchased the so-called Derbent Torah, a complete Torah scroll. At the end of the scroll he found the colophon - which more fittingly should be called an epigraph - written in Hebrew, outlining the history of the sons of Israel living in the Crimea and Caucasus. The epigraph is dated 'in the fifth year of the government of our lord Chosdori', the Persian, in the 1300th year of our exile', which may refer to the year AD 604, The Derbent Torah is kept in the National Library of Russia in St.Petersburg...
In the wall of the synagogue in Madjalist Firkovich found a longer version of the same text with additional explanations concerning its copying in 1513. At the beginning of both documents a number of words are vocalized with complicated Babylonian pointing. Both texts were published and discussed not long after their discovery.
The story related in these text sounds fabulous in several respects, and it has been claimed that it is a forgery. In particular, this was the opinion of Abraham/Albert Harkavy and H.L.Strack... in Altjuedische Denkmaeler (1876) this view was expressed by Harkavy in very harsh terms...
Harkavy was the head of the Jewish Department of the Imperial Public Library... Neverhtheless, he maintained that he never seen the Madjalis scroll itself. Calling to witness A.Th.Bychkov, the keeper of the Manuscript Department and vice-director of the Library, he stated in the Catalog that the document was not kept in the Library. Harkavy implied that the Madjalis Scroll was withdrawn by Firkovich himself since he was afraid of being denounced for forgery.
However, the Scroll is mentioned in Goldenblum's inventory list as 'a scroll on stick'. Nevertheless, it was not identified for many years, although in 1939 it was described by A.Ya.Borisov in his card catalogue of the New Series under number 91. In 1999 the Scroll was reported to be 'recently discovered by V.V.Lebedev' in the same Library...
Prof. Harviainen concludes his information that Abraham Firkovich in his memoires entitled Abne Zikkaron offers and exciting description of the discovery of the two scrolls. Unortunately, Abne Zikkaron has never been translated into any other language, something it really deserves.
The BTW of QARAIMLER: the Jewish Orthodox scholars were never able to 'forgive' to Qara'im in Russian Empire their better life due to the positive attitiude toward Qara'im of the Czarist and Russian Orthodox Church authorities. All those and other documents on the separate origin from that of the Jews and what was much more important to the authorities - the separate religion of Qaraim from that of the Jews, i.e. Qara'sim of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible vs. Judaism of the Pharisees, or simply - from Judaism - were carefully examined by Russian authorities and only after that the Qara'im of the Empire started to get equal rights with the Russians gradually from 1837 onwards, while the Jews got equal rights with the others only after Februrary revolution of 1917.
That is why it is not a wonder that Jewish Orthodox scholars try to do everything in order to discredit Qaraim, incl. dissapearence of manuscripts from the collection of Avraham Firkovich and accusing the great collector who found and broght to the scientific world more than 17 000 Karaite, Samaritan, Mutazilit and Jewish manuscripts, incl. Codex Petropolitanus, the oldest extant original text of the masoretic Hebrew Bible, based on which nearly all editions and translations of Old Testament as based.
But, there are, luckily, also other Jewish scholars - Yoram Erder, Meira Polliack, Daniel Chwolson who try/tried to stay much more objective than the Jewish Orthodox scholars.
Pity, I thought, in the world of science one's religios affilation and believes should not play such a role as outside the academic world. Articles of A.Harkavy and D.Shapira prove me I was to naive.
I must add that Prof. Dan Shapira denies that his religious affilation with Orthodox Judaism has anything to do with the results of his research.