The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet ben 'Eli the Karaite on the Book of Esther

Edition, Translation, and Introduction (Karaite Texts and Studies, Volume 1)

Series:

This volume consists of an edition, translated into English and with an extensive introduction, of the Arabic translation and commentary on the book of Esther by one of the preeminent litterateurs of the Karaite “Golden Age” (10th–11th centuries), Yefet ben ‘Eli ha-Levi. Yefet’s text represents the first completely extant, devoted commentary on Esther and, consequently, provides fascinating insight into the history and development of exegetical thought on this book, both among the Karaites as well as the Rabbanites. Various facets of Yefet’s exegesis which we explore in our introduction include his rationalistic method, compilatory tendency, relationship to the doctrines of the Islamic Mu‘tazila, and his influence both by and upon other Jewish exegetes (Karaite and Rabbanite). We also assess Yefet’s Arabic translation technique and include a survey of all extant Karaite commentaries on Esther, both in Arabic as well as Hebrew.

"At first sight, the book stands out as a model of systematic organization and thoroughness in treatment of detail...Wechsler has given us a detailed survey of the place of Yefet in the history of Karaite exegesis and in the history of Karaite theoretical argument."
- I.R.M. Bóid

"Altogether, this book may be considered an important step forward in the availability of Yefet ben 'Eli's commentaries in critical editions and will serve as a standard for future publications of his vast exegetical oeuvre."
- Ronny Vollandt, University of Cambridge
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Biographical Note

Michael G. Wechsler, Ph.D. (2006) in Near Eastern Judaica, University of Chicago, is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. The editor of Evangelium Iohannis Aethiopicum (Peeters, 2005), he has also published articles on the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as Karaite exegesis.

Review Quotes

"At first sight, the book stands out as a model of systematic organization and thoroughness in treatment of detail...Wechsler has given us a detailed survey of the place of Yefet in the history of Karaite exegesis and in the history of Karaite theoretical argument." - I.R.M. Bóid

"Altogether, this book may be considered an important step forward in the availability of Yefet ben 'Eli's commentaries in critical editions and will serve as a standard for future publications of his vast exegetical oeuvre." - Ronny Vollandt, University of Cambridge

Table of contents

CONTENTS
part i: INTRODUCTION
Chapter One Yefet’s Life and Works
Chapter Two Yefet’s Exegesis of Esther
Chapter Three Yefet’s Translation of Esther
Chapter Four Other Karaite Commentaries on Esther
Chapter Five Manuscripts Employed for the Present Edition
Chapter Six Some Methodological Remarks on the Annotated English Translation
Chapter Seven Signs, Sigla, and Abbreviations Employed in the Edited Text
part ii: TRANSLATION
TranslationBibliography
Indexes
part iii: TEXT
Text

Readership

All those interested in exegesis of the book of Esther, Karaite exegesis and philosophy, the history of Jewish Bible translation and exegesis, and Judaeo-Arabic literature.

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