The present volume offers a critical edition of the Hebrew texts, accompanied by English translation and commentary of
Reshit Ḥokhmah (Beginning of Wisdom) and
Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot (Judgments of the Zodiacal Signs) by Abraham Ibn Ezra (ca. 1089–ca. 1161). The first, the summa and by far the longest of his astrological works, the target of the most cross-references from the rest of that corpus and the most influential, enjoyed the widest circulation among Jews in the Middle Ages and after. The second, by contrast, is the most obscure. It is never referred to elsewhere by its author and is the only work for which Ibn Ezra’s authorship must be substantiated.
Reshit Ḥokhmah and
Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot were written in order to explain concepts common to the various branches of astrology that Ibn Ezra addressed elsewhere and to elucidate the worldview that underlies astrology. These two treatises are the richest and most varied with regard to the astrological information they present.
Reshit Ḥokhmah and
Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot also exemplify the close collaboration between astronomy and astrology in medieval science and are the two components of Ibn Ezra’s astrological corpus with the most extensive, comprehensive, and significant astronomical content.
"A critical edition with English translation of
Reshit Ḥokhmah was published in 1998 by Epstein. Sela has not only aspired to improve it but also supplied a commentary to render the text more comprehensible. Sela’s mission is successfully accomplished for both treatises. This multifarious book is another important contribution to a deeper understanding of the life and work of one of the most important medieval Jewish polymaths." - Ilana Wartenberg,
Universität Bern, in:
Journal for the History of Astronomy 50.1 (2019)
Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer: Structure, Coherence, Intertextuality Katharina E. Keim offers a description of the literary character of
Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer, an enigmatic work of the late-eighth-to-early-ninth centuries CE. Katharina E. Keim explores the work’s distinctive literary features through an analysis of its structure and coherence. These literary features, when taken together with the work’s intertextual relationships with antecedent and contemporaneous Christian and Jewish (rabbinic and non-rabbinic) texts, reveal
Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer to be an innovative work, and throw light on a new turn in Jewish literature following the rise of Islam.
The Proselyte and the Prophet: Character Development in Targum Ruth by Christian M. M. Brady is an exegetical study of Targum Ruth with a focus upon the transformation of the biblical characters into exemplars of rabbinic piety. Ruth becomes the ideal proselyte while Boaz is presented as a judge, a scholar of the Law, and a prophet. Brady demonstrates that the Targumist follows standard Targumic practice, rendering each Hebrew word of the biblical text into Aramaic, while making additions that further his agenda of presenting Ruth as a rabbinic model to be emulated.
In addition to the character analysis Brady provides a transcription of the manuscript Valmadonna 1, a new translation into English, and a verse-by-verse commentary of Targum Ruth.