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Yūsuf al-ʿAskarī

(440 words)

Author(s): Frank Weigelt
Yūsuf b. Salāma b. Yūsuf al-ʿAskarī was a Samaritan scholar active in the first half of the eleventh century. A contemporary of Abū ʾl-Ḥasan al-Ṣūrī, he was one of the first Samaritans to write in Arabic (cf. Bible exegesis, Samaritan). His nisba, al-ʿAskarī, possibly refers to the village of ʿAskar in the vicinity of Nablus, which until the Crusades housed a Samaritan community. The only example of al-ʿAskarī’s work that has come down to us is the Kitāb al-Kāfī, which according to his statement in Ms. British Museum Add. 19656, fol. 32v, was written in 433/1042. The full…

Abū Saʿīd

(595 words)

Author(s): Frank Weigelt
Abū Saʿīd was a Samaritan scholar who lived in Egypt in the second half of the thirteenth century, as can be inferred from his usage of Arabic and a fatwā (responsum) he issued in 1262. He is best known for his revision of the Arabic translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. In the oldest manuscript (MS Sassoon 977 from 727/1326–27), he is called Abū Saʿīd b. Abī al-Ḥusayn b. Abī Saʿīd, but most Samaritan scholars refer to him simply as Abū Saʿīd. For biographical and bibliographical discussion, see Shehade 1977, pp. 119–148.   Works (1) Revision of the Samaritan translation of the Torah…

Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm al-Muṣannif

(683 words)

Author(s): Frank Weigelt
Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm al-Muṣannif was a Samaritan scholar who was probably active in the second half of the twelfth century. The name al-Muṣannif means “writer,” and in his case can be either a laqab (cognomen) or simply his profession. The kunya Abū Isḥāq (“father of Isaac”) refers to the given name Ibrāhīm in accordance with the genealogy of the biblical patriarchs. According to a citation by Ibn Kaththār (ca. 1270–1355; Kitāb al-Farāʾiḍ, Ms Sassoon 719), his full name was Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm b. Faraj b. Mārūth (al-ṭabīb). In the ʿUyūn al-Anbāʾ fī Ṭabaqāt al-Aṭibbāʾ (“History of Physician…

Abū ʾl-Ḥasan al-Ṣūrī

(987 words)

Author(s): Frank Weigelt
Abū ʾl-Ḥasan al-Ṣūrī was a Samaritan scholar who was active in in the first half of the eleventh century (cf. Schwarb 2013, pp. 128–132). The kunya Abū ʾl-Ḥasan , with its Aramaic form av hisda (Samaritan pronunciation: ab isda), is an epithet meaning “the handsome one” or “the good one”; the Hebrew form Yefet is not documented before the nineteenth century. It is not clear where Abū ʾl-Ḥasan lived. According to his nisba, he could have originated in the city of Tyre ( Ṣūr) in Lebanon or in the now-deserted village of Ṣūratān near Nablus (cf. Wedel 1989, pp. 6–11). Shehade (19…

Ṣadaqa ibn Munajjā (Ṣadaqa al-Ḥakīm)

(939 words)

Author(s): Frank Weigelt
Ṣadaqa ibn Munajjā (also known as Ṣadaqa al-Ḥakīm) was an Arabic-writing Samaritan scholar and a renowned physician. Born probably in Damascus, he served at the court of the Ayyubid ruler al-Malik al-Ashraf Mūsā (d. 1237) in the Upper Mesopotamian city of Ḥarrān, where he died after 1223. Much of our information about his biography and bibliography comes from an entry in the Kitāb ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ (ed. Rida, pp. 717–721), the famous encyclopedia of physicians by Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa (1203–1270). On the basis of manuscripts discovered so far, Sam…

Bible Exegesis

(15,870 words)

Author(s): Mordechai Cohen | Judit Targarona | Daniel Frank | Frank Weigelt
1. Rabbanite Jewish scholarship in Muslim lands was deeply enriched by its absorption of Arabic and Greco-Arabic learning, which included grammar and philology, poetics, hermeneutics, history, science, and philosophy, all of which contributed profoundly to forging substantially new methods of biblical interpretation. While Scripture had long been central in Judaism, earlier interpretation was dominated by creative midrashic ways of rewriting the Bible, which by the Muslim period had been consolida…
Date: 2016-10-21