The article uses the story of David and Jonathan to examine how medieval Christian and Jewish traditions treated friendship between men in relation to marriage. It demonstrates that David and Jonathan friendship was most often invoked in the Christian Central Middle Ages in a monastic context, while in the Jewish tradition male friendship often occurred in commentaries on Pirqe Avot, where it was understood either as companionship in Torah study, or as a spiritual relationship. This second kind of friendship is contrasted with heterosexual love, despite that in both traditions the line between friendship and love is not sharp.
The article explores Yefet ben ʿEli’s treatment of David’s testament to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28 which relates to the building of the Temple, demonstrating the exegete’s literary sensibilities, as well as his ingenuity and originality in the artful way in which he combines different biblical passages and weaves them together into a unified literary structure that sheds a new light on the interpreted text.
The paper provides a detailed analysis of an autobiographical poem, composed by Shmuel ha-Nagid as a commemoration of his victory in battle over the troops attacking the foregrounds of Granada. It explores the process of artistic auto-creation, unravelling the complex matrix of biblical intertexts and historical allusions as well as artistic devices and poetical mechanisms introduced by the poet in order to portray himself not only as a righteous leader of the nation and a direct heir of the Levites, but also a divinely inspired poet, an anointed “singer of God,” and “the David of his age.”
The article explores the complex relationship between the biblical and extra-biblical evidence for David, discussing inter alia the etymology of the name David, the reliability of extra-biblical testimonies (inscriptions) to the House of David, as well as historical context and circumstances in which the biblical character was supposedly active. It conjectures that, assuming the historicity of this figure, David might have been a local leader of a small, Habiru-like group active in the tenth century BCE in the Southern territories dominated by the Tribe of Benjamin and politically controlled by the Philistines from the City of Gath.
The article investigates the way in which the character of David was used in Judah Halevi’s Book of the Kuzari. It demonstrates how the author used David’s idealized image as an instrument to convey and underscore what he considered the chief values and most important legacy of Judaism. It argues that the figure of David served Halevi as a vehicle to transmit a constructive critique of his present day Jewry, aimed at healing or repairing and improving the entire Jewish nation – in terms of Rabbanites and Karaites alike – and bringing about their re-unification, thereby restoring Judaism to its former glory.
The paper focuses on the emergence of Eastern European Karaite Bible translations, including translations of Psalms, both in old Hebrew script and in new orthographies. It argues that the significance of Psalms among the Eastern European Karaites goes far beyond the liturgical context, demonstrating that individual Psalms have been adapted into hymns and religious poems by Karaim poets, while singular verses and stanzas from the Psalms were profusely quoted in their poetical compositions. It discusses various adaptations of individual psalms into poems offered by Karaim poets, exploring the use of the Book of Psalms in Eastern European Karaite literature.
The article offers a description of the Arabic version of Psalms (with commentary) produced from the Greek original (according to the Septuagint) by the eleventh century Melkite deacon Abū l-Fatḥ ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Faḍl ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Muṭrān al-Anṭākī. It argues that the importance of this text is confirmed by the existence of numerous revisions of the original Arabic version. The paper also includes an edition and analysis of Psalm 28 according to Ms. Sinai ar. 65 which illustrates the changes to which the original Arabic version was subjected through the various revisions.
The paper explores different ways in which Judaism and Islam treated the subject of David’s proclivity for music, highlighting their mutual interdependence as well as originality in this respect. It shows that the Talmuds, Ruth Rabbah and Midrash on Psalms depict David as a musician turned nightly scholar, and investigates how the midrashic imagery informed medieval Jewish commentaries on Psalms 107–108, as well as how it influenced portrayals of David’s piety in Islam and the depictions of his musical skills (used against the demons) in various classical Muslim sources.
The paper analyzes Saʿadya’s Commentary on Psalms against the backdrop of similar commentaries produced by Christian (in Syriac) and Karaite (in Arabic) exegetes. It argues that in an attempt to stress the unity of the book of Psalms and its prophetic nature, the Gaon selectively adopted some concepts from the Syriac commentaries. It demonstrates that he modeled his introduction to the commentary on the introductions of two Syriac commentators and that he adopted the Syriac Nestorian idea that David wrote all the Psalms, but rejected some of the Nestorian interpretative approaches, such as a general disregard for the Psalms’ headings.
The article explores the reception of King David and the shaping of his image in the teaching of Jacob Frank (1726–1791). It investigates the reason why David caught Frank’s attention, despite his having abandoned the traditional messianic idea of the restoration of the kingdom of David in the Holy Land. It also demonstrates that Frank viewed David as “secretly a woman” (an incarnation of the Shekhinah) and delves into the question of how this Davidic femininity should be understood. Finally, it deals with Frank’s idea that the arrival of the messianic era will put an end to gender segregation.