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13–17.1.4.5 Esther

(3,133 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Part of 13–17 Five Scrolls - 13–17.1 Primary Translations - 13–17.1.4 Peshitta 13–17.1.4.5.1 Background Translated by the end of the second century c.e., the original text of the Peshiṭta version of Esther (s-Esth) – as far as such can be retrieved – represents a clear and close (though not slavish) rendering of the Hebrew text as represented by mt (17.2.2). In only a handful of instances, after allowing for the possibility of scribal corruption in the Syriac transmission process, does the extant text of s-Esth reasonably imply a consonantal reading and/or vocalization of the…
Date: 2017-03-01

13–17.1.4.1 Ruth

(2,839 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Part of 13–17 Five Scrolls - 13–17.1 Primary Translations - 13–17.1.4 Peshitta 13–17.1.4.1.1 Background Translated by the end of the second century c.e., the original text of the Peshiṭta version of Ruth (s-Ruth) – as far as such can be retrieved – represents a generally faithful rendering of the Hebrew text as represented by mt (13.2.2); relatively minor adjustments away from a strictly “literal” rendering are evident throughout, attesting a consistent overarching desire to produce a version of the book that is both conceptually and idiomaticall…
Date: 2017-03-01

13–17.2.4.5 Esther

(306 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Part of 13–17 Five Scrolls - 13–17.2 Secondary Translations - 13–17.2.4 Late Syriac Translations With the exception of forty single-word citations (in a couple of instances two words) in Andreas Masius’ Syrorum Peculium,1 the Syro-Hexaplaric text of Esther is, unfortunately, non-extant. The lost manuscript of Masius from which the citations were drawn, and which apparently contained the entire book of Esther, was proven by Rahlfs2 to be closely related in character and age to the late-eighth-/early-ninth-century c.e. Milan manuscript (i.e., c. 313 Inf. of the Ambrosian Libr…
Date: 2017-03-01

13–17.2.4.1 Ruth

(1,321 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Part of 13–17 Five Scrolls - 13–17.2 Secondary Translations - 13–17.2.4 Late Syriac Translations 13–17.2.4.1.1 Text The complete Syro-Hexaplaric text of the book of Ruth is extant in a unique eighth-century c.e. manuscript,1 i.e., Add. 17.103 of the British Library (London), containing both Judges (folios 4r–61v) and Ruth (folios 62v–70r), the text of which was edited by Rørdam in 1861,2 and then again by de Lagarde in 1892.3 Undoubtedly, there are also citations from Syh-Ruth remaining to be found in pre-modern Syriac literature (21.9), though we have found …
Date: 2017-03-01

3–5.2.3.2 Judges

(1,522 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Part of 3–5 Former Prophets - 3–5.2 Secondary Translations - 3–5.2.3 Ethiopic Translations 3–5.2.3.2.1 Background The Ethiopic (Gǝ‛ǝz) text of Judges – at least in the text form edited by Dillmann (3–5.2.3.2.2) – is based primarily on lxx (4.3), with a certain (at this point immeasurable, albeit relatively small) contributing influence by mt (4.2.2) and the Peshitta (3–5.1.4) during the original phase of translation, in the fourth to seventh centuries. Scholarly consensus further maintains that sometime during the fourteenth and fifteenth centu…
Date: 2016-11-01

13–17.1.4.5 Esther

(3,165 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
13–17 Five Scrolls 13–17.1 Primary Translations  13–17.1.4 Peshitta 13–17.1.4.5.1 Background Translated by the end of the second century C.E., the original text of the Peshiṭta version of Esther (S-Esth)—as far as such can be retrieved—represents a clear and close (though not slavish) rendering of the Hebrew text as represented by MT (17.2.2). In only a handful of instances, after allowing for the possibility of scribal corruption in the Syriac transmission process, does the extant text of S-Esth reason…
Date: 2016-11-09

13–17.2.4.1 Ruth

(1,338 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
13–17 Five Scrolls 13–17.2 Secondary Translations  13–17.2.4 Late Syriac Translations 13–17.2.4.1.1 Text The complete Syro-Hexaplaric text of the book of Ruth is extant in a unique eighth-century C.E. manuscript,1 i.e., Add. 17.103 of the British Library (London), containing both Judges (folios 4r–61v) and Ruth (folios 62v–70r), the text of which was edited by Rørdam in 1861,2 and then again by de Lagarde in 1892.3 Undoubtedly, there are also citations from Syh-Ruth remaining to be found in pre-modern Syriac literature (21.9), though we have found none in…
Date: 2016-11-09

13–17.1.4.1 Ruth

(2,859 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
13–17 Five Scrolls 13–17.1 Primary Translations  13–17.1.4 Peshitta 13–17.1.4.1.1 Background Translated by the end of the second century C.E., the original text of the Peshiṭta version of Ruth (S-Ruth)—as far as such can be retrieved—represents a generally faithful rendering of the Hebrew text as represented by MT (13.2.2); relatively minor adjustments away from a strictly “literal” rendering are evident throughout, attesting a consistent overarching desire to produce a version of the book that is both …
Date: 2016-11-09

13–17.2.4.5 Esther

(304 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
13–17 Five Scrolls 13–17.2 Secondary Translations  13–17.2.4 Late Syriac Translations With the exception of forty single-word citations (in a couple of instances two words) in Andreas Masius’ Syrorum Peculium,1 the Syro-Hexaplaric text of Esther is, unfortunately, non-extant. The lost manuscript of Masius from which the citations were drawn, and which apparently contained the entire book of Esther, was proven by Rahlfs2 to be closely related in character and age to the late-eighth-/early-ninth-century C.E. Milan manuscript (i.e., C. 313 Inf. of the Am…
Date: 2016-11-09

Baradānī, Joseph al-

(523 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Joseph al-Baradānī was a payṭan (liturgical poet) and a cantor in tenth-century Baghdad. His father, Ḥayyim, had also been a poet and cantor, and so too were his son Nahum al-Baradānī and at least one grandson, Solomon.  As indicated by his nisba (attributive name) the family was based at some point in the Baghdad suburb of Baradān, though by Joseph’s time it had moved into the city proper, where he served with distinction as cantor of the main synagogue—in fact, in a letter Hay Gaon refers to him, post-mortem, as “the great cantor” (Heb. ha-ḥazzan ha-gadol). Joseph’s corpus of liturgical…
Date: 2015-09-03

Josiah ben Jesse

(589 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Josiah ben Jesse flourished in the first half of the thirteenth century as part of a family of nesi’im centered in Mosul. He had three brothers—Hodiah (probably the Jalāl al-Dawla of several Geniza letters; cf. infra), Hezekiah, and Solomon (= Jedidiah? [see Gil, sec. 259, ad fin.])—and spent some time in Egypt (Ashmun, Bilbays, Fustat, al-Maḥalla, and, perhaps, Alexandria and Damira) as well as in Damascus, where he met the poet Judah al-Ḥarīzī. At least six different “date points” are attested for Josiah, based on dated or datable sources…
Date: 2015-09-03

Dunash (Abū Sahl) ben Tamīm

(1,170 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Dunash (from Ber.-Ar. dhū nās, master of men, trans. by Heb. adonim) ben Tamim ibn Ya‘qūb al-Isrā’īlī, also known by the kunya Abū Sahl and the nisba  "al-Shaflajī", flourished in the first half of the tenth century as one of the preeminent scholars and jurists ( dayyanim), in Qayrawān (Tunisia). The earliest attested date-point for Dunash’s life is ca. 895, as deduced from his statement in the introduction to his commentary on Sefer Yeṣira that he had read letters sent to Qayrawān by Saʿadya ben Joseph before the latter’s departure for Babylon, which took place in 915, if not…

Jeshua ben Elijah ha-Levi

(770 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Jeshua ben Elijah ha-Levi lived between ca. 1160 and ca. 1250, probably in al-Andalus, and was the last known compiler-redactor of the poetry collections (Ar. dawāwīn; sing. dīwān) of the preeminent medieval littérateurs Judah ha-Levi and Abraham ibn Ezra. The poems in both dawāwīn were arranged by Jeshua in the same tripartite fashion according to their poetic form—namely, as summarized in his introduction to Judah ha-Levi’s dīwān (Geiger, p. 170): “the first part encompasses rhyming metrical poems, the second part encompasses distinctly metrical strophic compositions [Ar. muwas…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ben Yijū, Abraham

(962 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Unquestionably one of the most colorful figures to be illuminated by documents from the Cairo Geniza—and in Goitein’s estimation ( Letters, p. 186) “the most important single figure” of his important “India Book”—is the Tunisian merchant and littérateur Abraham (ben Peraḥyā) ben Yijū, who flourished in the first half of the twelfth century and has been identified as the recipient or sender of some seventy different written items (mostly documentary). The name Yijū, applied by or for Abraham as a surname (sometimes …
Date: 2015-09-03

Tanḥum ben Joseph ha-Yerushalmi

(1,327 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Tanḥum ben Joseph ha-Yerushalmi was unknown to Western scholars until the latter half of the seventeenth century, when the English orientalist Edward Pococke(1604–1691) brought several manuscript copies of Tanḥum’s writings to Europe from the Near East and published extracts from them in several of his own works. Tanḥum’s works make frequent eulogistic references to a host of medieval authorities, from Saʿadya Gaon (d. 942) down to Joseph Ibn ʿAqnīn (d. ca. 1220), and the attested date of the ol…
Date: 2015-09-03

Daniel ben Samuel ibn Abī ʾl-Rabīʿ ha-Kohen

(507 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Daniel ben Samuel ibn Abī ʾl-Rabīʿ ha-Kohen succeeded Isaac ben Israel in 1248 as gaon of the main Babylonian yeshiva in Baghdad and continued in office until his death in 1250/51. The Arabic historian Ibn al-Fuwaṭī (p. 218) reports that when Daniel, accompanied by “a throng of Jews and a group of devotees of the dīwān,” was returning to the yeshiva “on foot” after being appointed by the chief qāḍī ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, he was met by “a group of the common people [who] interposed with the intent to stone him, yet they were rebuffed in their endeavor and prevented.” Wh…
Date: 2015-09-03

Baradānī, Nahum al-

(689 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Nahum al-Baradānī flourished in the second half of the tenth century and the first decade of the eleventh as the third (at least) in a line of poets and cantors. As indicated by his name, the family must once have been based in the Baghdad suburb of Baradān, but this would have been before the time of Nahum’s father, Joseph, who served as the “Great Cantor” in Baghdad’s central synagogue. Although his main occupation seems to have been as a merchant—and a quite wealthy one, at that—Nahum is know…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ibn al-Majjānī Family

(392 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
The Ibn al-Majjānī family, known from documentary sources in the Cairo Geniza, were active in Mediterranean trade during the first half of the eleventh century. The earliest member of the family for whom any correspondence survives was Mūsā (Abū ʿImrān) ibn Yaḥyā al-Majjānī. The nisba indicates that the family once resided in the Tunisian town of Majjāna. Goitein suggested that this pertained to Mūsā’s grandfather ( Med. Soc., vol 1, p. 371, no. 9), from whose hand there are three letters (Gil, nos. 116–18) dated respectively 1000 (from Fustat), 1011 (from Qayr…

Ben Yijū Family

(1,773 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
The Ben Yijū family of traders and scholars is known from documents in the Cairo Geniza. Its most colorful member was Abraham Ben Yijū in the twelfth century, whose enterprises took him as far as India. The family originated in Tunisia; over the next few generations members lived in Sicily and Egypt. The family name Ben Yijū is of Berber origin. The founder of the family was probably under the protection of the Aït Īshū (part of the Izaïn and Aït Sgugu tribes), and the name continued in use among Maghrebi Jews into modern times as Bénichou (see Bénichou Family). The documents of the Cairo Geni…

Ibn Bundār, Ḥasan , Abū ‘Alī (Japheth)

(662 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Abū ‘Alī Ḥasan (Japheth) ibn Bundār, in the second half of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth, was the “representative/trustee of the merchants” (Heb. peqid ha-soḥerim; Ar. wakīl al-tujjār) in Aden and “head of the [Jewish] communities” (Heb. roshar ha-qehillot; Ar. rayyis) in southern Yemen. The name Bundār (Pers. established, intelligent, rich) indicates that either he or his predecessors came to Yemen from Iran—the former scenario being more likely, because Ḥasan is the first member of the Bundār family in Yemen attested in the extant records (Goitein, Yemenit…
Date: 2015-09-03
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