The volume contains critical editions of the extant parts of two hitherto unknown theological works by the
Būyid vizier al-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād (d. 385/925), who is well known to have vigorously promoted the teaching of
Muʿtazilī theology throughout
Būyid territories and beyond. The manuscripts on which the edition is based come from Cairo Geniza store rooms. They consist of two manuscripts for each of the two texts—testimony to the impact of al-Ṣāḥib’s education policy on the contemporaneous Jewish community in Cairo. The longer treatise of al-Ṣāḥib of ca. 350/960, possibly his
Kitāb Nahj al-sabīl fī uṣūl al-dīn, appears to be the earliest
Muʿtazilī work preserved among the Jewish community. The second, briefer treatise also contains a commentary by ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-Hamadānī (d. 415/1025).
This work offers a seminal research into Arabic translations of the Pentateuch. It is no exaggeration to speak of this field as a terra incognita. Biblical versions in Arabic were produced over many centuries, on the basis of a wide range of source languages (Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, or Coptic), and in varying contexts. The textual evidence for this study is exclusively based on a corpus of about 150 manuscripts, containing the Pentateuch in Arabic or parts thereof.
Ancient texts, once written by hand on parchment and papyrus, are now increasingly discoverable online in newly digitized editions, and their readers now work online as well as in traditional libraries. So what does this mean for how scholars may now engage with these texts, and for how the disciplines of biblical, Jewish and Christian studies might develop? These are the questions that contributors to this volume address. Subjects discussed include textual criticism, palaeography, philology, the nature of ancient monotheism, and how new tools and resources such as blogs, wikis, databases and digital publications may transform the ways in which contemporary scholars engage with historical sources. Contributors attest to the emergence of a conscious recognition of something new in the way that we may now study ancient writings, and the possibilities that this new awareness raises.