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.
A Critical Edition and Translation of Zikhron Divrey Romi, Divrey Malkhey Yisraʾel, and the Midrash on Zechariah
Written by Abraham ibn Daud of Toledo (c. 1110-1180), Dorot ‘Olam (Generations of the Ages) is one of the most influential and innovative historical works of medieval Hebrew literature. In four sections, three of which are edited and translated in this volume for the first time, Dorot ‘Olam asserts the superiority of rabbinic Judaism and stresses the central role of Iberia for the Jewish past, present, and future. Combining Jewish and Christian sources in new ways, Ibn Daud presents a compelling vision of the past and formulates political ideas that stress the importance of consensus-driven leadership under rabbinic guidance. This edition demonstrates how Dorot ‘Olam was received by Jewish and Christian readers who embraced the book in Hebrew, Latin, and two English and German translations.