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Edited by Rifaat Ebied and David Thomas

Acknowledged as a leading medical expert in his day, and secretary to a succession of caliphs in the mid-ninth century, the Nestorian Christian ʿAlī ibn Rabban al-Ṭabarī converted to Islam around the age of 70. He then wrote Radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā, a recantation of his former faith, and Kitāb al-dīn wa-l-dawla, a defence of the Prophet Muḥammad based substantially on biblical proof-texts. The range of arguments he produced against the soundness of his former faith in these two works influenced sections of Islamic scholarship for many centuries.
These new editions and translations of his works are based on all the available evidence for the texts, accompanied by extensive introductions and studies of their place in Islamic thought.



The Book of Conviviality in Exile (Kitāb al-īnās bi-ʾl-jalwa)

The Judaeo-Arabic Translation and Commentary of Saadia Gaon on the Book of Esther

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Michael G. Wechsler

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.