Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

Get access

Literature, Judeo-Arabic
(4,375 words)

1.    Ancient Judeo-Arabic literature and script

The first literary pieces in Arabic by Jews, most probably oral and comprising both poetry and translations from the Bible, were composed in pre-Islamic Arabia. Judeo-Arabic poetry, mainly the works of al-Samawʾal ibn ʿAdiyāʾ of Tayma (d. 560), the greatest Jewish poet of the Jāhiliyya (the pre-Islamic era; lit. "the time of ignorance"), but also including writings by several less important poets, was exclusively preserved in Muslim sources, appearing first in the KitābṬabqāt al-Shuʿarāʾ (The Classes of the Poets), a compila…

Cite this page
Yosef Tobi, “Literature, Judeo-Arabic”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 27 October 2021
First published online: 2010

▲   Back to top   ▲