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Medieval Judaeo-Arabic Literature

(11,169 words)

Author(s): Polliack, Meira
Judaeo-Arabic literature designates the rich oeuvre, literary and scientific, created by the Jews of Muslim lands in the Judaeo-Arabic language during the medieval and modern periods. Essentially, this language is a form of medieval (also termed middle) Arabic that deviates from classical Arabic in that it reflects some neo-Arabic dialectic features and pseudo-corrective elements. It is also distinguished by two other features that demonstrate its Jewish origin: the use of Hebrew rather than Arabic s…

Arabic Bible Translations

(6,675 words)

Author(s): Polliack, Meira
1. Semantics in Medieval Jewish Arabic Bible Translation and Interpretation Most Jews of the Islamic world had come to use Arabic in spoken and written communication by the 10th century c.e. This socio-linguistic development created a growing need for translating the Hebrew Bible, and especially the Torah (Pentateuch), into Arabic. The popular circles who attended the schools and synagogues experienced the need to understand Scripture readings in their spoken tongue, whereas the intellectual and scholarly elites who had beco…

David Ben Abraham al-Fāsī

(1,413 words)

Author(s): Meira Polliack
David ben Abraham al-Fāsī was a Karaite lexicographer and exegete in the mid-tenth century. His most famous work, Kitāb Jāmiʿ al-Alfāẓ, was the first Hebrew-Arabic dictionary of the Hebrew Bible. Although al-Fāsī or his family probably came from the city of Fez in Morocco, as suggested by his cognomen, he appears to have spent part of his life in Jerusalem, where he is believed to have composed his monumental dictionary sometime in the first half of the tenth century. He is not mentioned in Ibn al-Hītī’s chronicle of Karaite scholars, but there is other evidence connecting him to the Karaite …


(4 words)

Author(s): Meira Polliack
see Dhimma Meira Polliack

20.3.8 Arabic Translations

(12 words)

Author(s): Polliack, Meira
Part of 20 1–2 Chronicles - 20.3 Primary TranslationsSee 19.4.8.Meira Polliack
Date: 2020-03-17 Jewish Arabic Translations

(12,808 words)

Author(s): Polliack, Meira
Part of 1 Overview Articles - 1.3 Primary Translations - 1.3.6 Arabic Translations (Rabbanite, Karaite, Christian, and Samaritan) Historical ContextDuring the ninth and tenth centuries c.e., the Jews of the Islamic world adopted the Arabic language for most forms of spoken and written communication. This sociolinguistic development created a growing need for a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Arabic. As with the Christian Arabic translation enterprise (1.4.11), the Jewish Arabic versions were primarily moti…
Date: 2020-03-17

1.5 Arabic Texts

(25,286 words)

Author(s): Lindgren Hjälm, Miriam | Polliack, Meira
Part of 1 History of Research Despite their old age and despite the fact that Arabic Bible translations were known since a long time, the study of primary (I.1.3.6) and secondary Arabic translations (I.1.4.11; II.1.2.12) did not enjoy much attention in the academia. Much of the scholarly effort so far was focused on the study of individual manuscripts and textual witnesses. A history of research on the textual criticism of Arabic Bible translations needs thus to focus more on the development of these traditions than on critical …
Date: 2022-10-20

6–9.1.8 Arabic Translations

(4,548 words)

Author(s): Polliack, Meira | Nadler-Akirav, Meirav
Part of 6–9 Latter Prophets - 6–9.1 Primary TranslationsThe earliest evidence of Jewish translations into Arabic of the prophetic books is found in glossaries dating from the ninth and tenth centuries c.e. that have been preserved in the Cairo Genizah.1 These glossaries contain sporadic or continuous lists of biblical words and phrases, which are arranged in columns or separated by dots from one or several Arabic translation equivalents. The equivalents are transcribed into Hebrew script and often attest to an early stage of the deve…
Date: 2020-03-17

3–5.1.8 Arabic Translations

(14 words)

Author(s): Polliack, Meira | Nadler-Akirav, Meirav
Part of 3–5 Former Prophets - 3–5.1 Primary TranslationsSee 6–9.1.8.Meira PolliackMeirav Nadler-Akirav
Date: 2020-03-17

19.3.7 Arabic Translations

(1,789 words)

Author(s): Polliack, Meira | Nadler-Akirav, Meirav | Zoran, Yair
Part of 19 Ezra–Nehemiah - 19.3 Primary Translations Medieval Rabbanite TranslationsLittle is known in 2015 about the Jewish Arabic translations of the three last books of the Hebrew Bible, Ezra–Nehemiah and Chronicles. Despite their importance to biblical history, these books do not have liturgical or synagogue functions, and so they seem to have received less attention in ancient rabbinic circles, Jewish schoolrooms, and other learned groups.1 Another possibility is that they did draw interest at a particular time and were translated into Arabic amo…
Date: 2020-03-17

Bible Translations

(8,215 words)

Author(s): Benjamin Hary | David Bunis | Dalia Yasharpour | Meira Polliack
1. Judeo-Arabic (Ninth to Thirteenth Century)In ancient and medieval times, Jews translated the Hebrew Bible into their spoken tongues, such as Greek, Aramaic, and Arabic (as well as many other languages and vernaculars employed in specific periods and places). Unlike the various degrees of prohibition regarding scriptural translation in Islamic (as well as Christian) medieval lore and theology, there was no halakhic or theological prohibition of scriptural translation per se among the Jews, although ther…

Cairo Geniza

(12,776 words)

Author(s): Stefan Reif | Miriam Frenkel | Meira Polliack | Ben Outhwaite | Esther-Miriam Wagner
1. General Survey and History of DiscoverySource"Geniza" is a convenient one-word title to describe an extensive and unique collection of medieval manuscripts, mainly in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, and Aramaic, and usually written on vellum and paper, that has illuminated virtually every aspect of life in and around the eastern Mediterranean areas of the Islamic world a thousand years ago. The collection, consisting of well in excess of 200,000 items (written on almost half a million folios) was amassed in …