Medieval Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Egypt

The Secular Poetry of the Karaite Poet Moses ben Abraham Darʿī. Karaite Texts and Studies, Volume 3


Moses ben Abraham Darʿī, born in Alexandria into a family of Moroccan Jewish immigrants, lived in Egypt in the middle of the twelfth century. Though he visited Damascus and Jerusalem, he spent most of his professional life as a physician and poet in the Karaite community of Fusṭāṭ-Cairo. This study offers an annotated edition of secular poems taken from the earliest manuscript, NLR Evr. I 802, dated to the fifteenth century. The Hebrew text and Judaeo-Arabic heading of each poem are provided in the original order attested in the manuscript. The introduction to this edition seeks to evaluate Darʿī’s poetry in the light of the Andalusian-Hebrew poetical tradition and within the context of Hebrew literary activity in the Muslim East.

“This learned book displays sound, rigorous scholarship in the best tradition of the philological-historical method… It also provides solid ground for further work by scholars with different agendas, different scholarly interests and different methodologies in the study of medieval Hebrew poetry. On all accounts, it is a welcome and most valuable addition to the field.”
Esperanza Alfonso, CCHS-CSIC

"Yeshaya's work is an excellent contribution to the study of both medieval Hebrew poetry and Karaitica, showing Darʿī to be a central representative of Hebrew poets writing in the Muslim East and, most importantly, a charming author, whose Karaiteness only adds to the attraction."
Riikka Tuori


EUR €154.00USD $191.00

Biographical Note

Joachim J.M.S. Yeshaya, Ph.D. (2009) in Arts, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, is Research Associate (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. His main research interests are in medieval Hebrew poetry, Judaeo-Arabic literature, and Karaite liturgy.

Review Quotes

Yeshaya's study is philologically sound and well-balanced. His translations in English are exemplary and scintillate particularly in reflecting the Hebrew rhyme...The book is a welcome addition to the field, offering not only a good introduction for a general readership, but also an innovative discussion of Moses Darʿī's diwān for the specialists.

Ronny Vollandt, Revue des etudes juives, 171 (1-2), January-June 2012, p. 223

Table of contents

Chapter 1 History of Research
Chapter 2 Manuscript Tradition
Chapter 3 History of Fāṭimid and Ayyūbid Egypt
Chapter 4 Moses ben Abraham Darʿī
Chapter 5 Poetics and Poetry
Chapter 6 Secular Genres
Chapter 7 Motifs and Themes
Chapter 8 Language and Style
Chapter 9 Conclusion: The Significance of Moses Darʿī
Chapter 10 Edition: Poems nos. 1-152, on the basis of MS NLR Evr. I 802, with commentary


All those interested in medieval Hebrew poetry, Judaeo-Arabic literature, Karaism, and the history of Muslim Egypt.


Collection Information