This volume presents a critical edition of the Judaeo-Arabic translation and commentary on the book of Esther by Saadia Gaon (882–942). This edition, accompanied by an introduction and extensively annotated English translation, affords access to the first-known personalized, rationalistic Jewish commentary on this biblical book. Saadia innovatively organizes the biblical narrative—and his commentary thereon—according to seven “guidelines” that provide a practical blueprint by which Israel can live as an abased people under Gentile dominion. Saadia’s prodigious acumen and sense of communal solicitude find vivid expression throughout his commentary in his carefully-defined structural and linguistic analyses, his elucidative references to a broad range of contemporary socio-religious and vocational realia, his anti-Karaite polemics, and his attention to various issues, both psychological and practical, attending Jewish-Gentile conviviality in a 10th-century Islamicate milieu.
The Judaeo-Arabic Translation and Commentary of Saadia Gaon on the Book of Esther
Michael G. Wechsler
Ṭodros Ṭodrosi’s Translation of Kitāb al-Najāt, on Psychology and Metaphysics
In this volume, Gabriella Elgrably-Berzin offers an analysis of the fourteenth-century Hebrew translation of a major eleventh-century philosophical text: Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Najāt (The Book of Salvation), focusing on the psychology treatise on physics. The translator of this work was Ṭodros Ṭodrosi, the main Hebrew translator of Avicenna’s philosophical writings. This study includes a critical edition of Ṭodrosi’s translation, based on two manuscripts as compared to the Arabic edition (Cairo, 1938), and an appendix featuring the section on metaphysics. By analyzing Ṭodrosi’s language and terminology and making his Hebrew translation available for the first time, Berzin’s study will help enable scholars to trace the borrowings from Todrosi’s translations in Jewish sources, shedding light on the transmission and impact of Avicenna’s philosophy.
This volume is a compendium of all known commentaries on Hebrew liturgical poetry (piyyut) preserved in manuscript form. It includes references to commentaries from many different Jewish communities, most prominent among them Ashkenaz, Tsarfat, Sepharad, Carpentras and Yemen, composed and copied in Medieval and Early Modern times. Over 18,000 individual commentaries on more than 2,000 poems are listed with primary sources and references to editions where extant. As an aid to research, it describes a vast but hitherto neglected genre of medieval Hebrew literature and maps out a whole new field of investigation into medieval Jewish textual culture. This catalogue enables users to find manuscript commentaries on most piyyutim that were included in liturgies in major Jewish communities.