Arabic Versions of the Pentateuch

A Comparative Study of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Sources

Series:

This work offers a seminal research into Arabic translations of the Pentateuch. It is no exaggeration to speak of this field as a terra incognita. Biblical versions in Arabic were produced over many centuries, on the basis of a wide range of source languages (Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, or Coptic), and in varying contexts. The textual evidence for this study is exclusively based on a corpus of about 150 manuscripts, containing the Pentateuch in Arabic or parts thereof.
Restricted Access

E-Book:

EUR €117.00USD $155.00

Biographical Note

Ronny Vollandt, Ph.D. (2011), is a Professor of Jewish Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich. His research focuses on the Arabic versions of the Bible and biblical exegesis in the Arabic language, more broadly, medieval Christian- and Judaeo-Arabic literature.

Review Quote

'Ronny Vollandt’s Arabic Versions of the Pentateuch is without a doubt the most important study of the Bible in Arabic to appear in recent decades. He combines close textual study of the earliest Arabic version of the Pentateuch, translated from the Syriac Peshitta in the early ninth century CE, with a masterful overview of Arabic Bible translations in general and their importance for the history of the largely Jewish and Christian communities in which they were produced. The book is a ground-breaking contribution to a long neglected area of study that is crucial to the history of the relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Vollandt prepares the way for future scholars of the Bible in Arabic in many ways, one of the most important of them being his careful listing and description of all the available manuscripts of the Pentateuch in Arabic translation, scattered in libraries around the world or available in digitized form. His method of analyzing the Arabic translators’ technique of translation is masterful and sets a new standard for this exacting task, which, when well done, tells the historian much about the circumstances in synagogue or church life in which the translation was produced. Vollandt’s Arabic Versions of the Pentateuch is a must-read for any future scholar who would study the Arabic translation of a biblical book and one hopes that his success will inspire a new generation to discover the joys and benefits of Arabic Bible research'.

Sidney H. Griffith, Institute of Christian Oriental Research, The Catholic University of America, Washington


'Vollandt has succeeded admirably in his goal of arguing for the importance and relevance of the Arabic versions in biblical scholarship, and it is hoped that he and others will build on this work by engaging in similar studies of other sections of the Bible. Brill’s recently launched Biblia Arabica series, of which this is the second volume to appear, will serve as an excellent forum for such future efforts'.

John Kaltner
Rhodes College
Memphis, Tennessee

Review published by RBL © 09/2016 by the Society of Biblical Literature

Table of contents

TABLE OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
PREFACE

CHAPTER ONE - PREVIOUS SCHOLARSHIP: CONCERNS AND LIMITATIONS

CHAPTER TWO - “A CLEAR LANGUAGE THAT ORDINARY PEOPLE UNDERSTAND”: THE LINGUISTIC BACKGROUND
The Melkites
The Syriac Orthodox Church
The Church of the East
The Copts
Jewish Communities
The Samaritans

CHAPTER THREE - THE RISE OF ARABIC TRANSLATIONS
Melkite Translations
West- and East-Syriac Translations
Coptic Translations
Mozarabic Translations
Jewish Translations
Early Non-Saadianic Translations
The Tafsīr of Saadiah Gaon
Qaraite Translations
Samaritan Translations

CHAPTER FOUR - MUSLIMS AND THEIR USE OF THE ARABIC PENTATEUCH
ʿAlī ibn Rabban
Ibn Qutayba
Al-Ṭabarī
Ibn Ḥazm

CHAPTER FIVE - THE ARABIC PENTATEUCH IN EARLY PRINTED BOOKS
The Constantinople Polyglot
Pentateuchus Mosis Arabicè
The Paris Polyglot
The London Polyglot
Biblia Sacra Arabica (1671–73)

CHAPTER SIX - SUMMARY

CHAPTER SEVEN - INTRODUCTION
The Manuscripts
Textual affinities
Text Divisions

CHAPTER EIGHT - TRANSLATION TECHNIQUE
Syntax
Word Order
Coordinate clauses
Subordinate clauses
Conditional clauses
Interrogative clauses
Moods
Infinitives
Participles
Negation
The Vocative
Summary
Vocabulary
Use of cognates
Transliterations
Homophonic roots
Islamic vocabulary
Alternative translations
Lexical consistency
Names
The lexical representation of anthropomorphisms
Summary
Particles
The accusative marker ܬܝ
The accusative marker -ܠ
The particle of being ܬܝܐ
The particles of similitude ܬܘܟܐ , ܟܝܐ , and ܟܝܐ
The particle of possession -ܝܕ
The particle ܐܗ
Prepositions
Summary
Style
Additions
Omissions
Substitutions
Summary
CHAPTER NINE - CONCLUSION
APPENDICES
Inventory of manuscripts
ArabHeb: Translations from the Hebrew
ArabSyr: Translations from the Syriac
ArabSyr_Hex: Translations from the Syro-Hexapla
ArabGreek: A Translation from the Greek
ArabCopt: Translations from the Coptic
manuscripts based on prints
Unidentified or not accessible
Text Divisions
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX