The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet ben ʿEli the Karaite on the Abraham Narratives (Genesis 11:10–25:18)

Edition and Introduction. Karaite Texts and Studies, Volume 4


This volume contains a critical edition of the Arabic translation and commentary on the Abraham narratives in the Book of Genesis (chs. 11-25) by the most prominent and prolific commentator of the Karaite “Golden Age,” Yefet ben ʻEli ha-Levi (10-11 C.E.). Yefet’s interpretation of the Abraham cycle establishes him as a highly original commentator and provides new insights into the history of exegesis of the book of Genesis. The edition is preceded by a comprehensive study of Yefet’s hermeneutic approach in comparison to that of other medieval commentators. Among the subjects discussed are Yefet’s view on the authorship of the Torah, his translation technique, literary aspects of his exegesis, and polemical overtones discernible in his commentary on Genesis. The study also includes a comprehensive survey of earlier commentaries on this book by other Karaite writers both prior to and contemporary with Yefet.

"This is a serious academic work which will find its place in research collections supporting biblical and Judaica scholarship."
Randall C. Belinfante, American Sephardi Federation

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Marzena Zawanowska, Ph.D. (2007) in Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw, and post-doc research fellow in the Diaspora Research Center (Tel Aviv University, 2008/9), is assistant professor in the Department of Hebrew Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, at the University of Warsaw, and in the Center for Jewish Studies at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. She has published mainly on medieval Karaite Bible exegesis, and contributed entries to the Encyclopaedia of Jews in the Islamic World (Brill, 2010). Currently, she is also head of a major project in publishing Ch. N. Bialik’s (Hebrew and Yiddish) poetry into Polish, as a recipient of a grant sponsored by Foundation for Polish Science.
Chapter 1 Yefet and his Times
Chapter 2 Who Wrote the Torah? Yefet’s View on the Authorship of the Pentateuch
Chapter 3 In Quest of Truth: Yefet’s Hermeneutic Concepts
Chapter 4 Between the Holy Text and its Unholy Context: Polemical Overtones in Yefet’s Commentary on Genesis
Chapter 5 Scripture as the Supreme Composition: Literary Aspects of Yefet’s Exegesis of Genesis
Chapter 6 The Limits of Literalism: Yefet’s Approach to Bible Translation
Chapter 7 Description of Manuscripts Employed for the Present Edition
Chapter 8 Editing of the Manuscripts
Chapter 9 Signs and Abbreviations Employed in the Critical Edition

The volume is especially relevant to the scholars interested in the history and development of medieval Bible exegesis.
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