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PSEUDO-JOSEPHUS, JOSEPH BEN GORION.
This chronicle of the Jewish race, from Adam to the
time of Titus, is written in Rabbinical Hebrew, which,
however, approaches nearer to the classical language than
the majority of mediaeval prose compositions, and was
much read by the Jews of the Middle Ages. Only four
MSS. of the text are known to me — two in the Vatican
Library \ which, however, are defective, one in Turin, and
one in Paris, all of which agree with the editio princeps,
besides some fragments in the Bodleian Library (MSS.
no. 793, ff. 2i8 b to 246; no. 2585, ff. 104 to 106; d. 64,
ff. 118 to 120; e. 30, fol. 56). The printed editions, on
the other hand, are by no means few. The earliest are
those of Mantua (1476-9), which has the best support
from the MSS., of Constantinople (1510), divided into
books and chapters, and containing considerable additions,
and thirdly the Venice edition (1544). The numerous
later editions are mostly based on the Constantinople
text. The preface, written in the thirteenth century by
1 The title anwn rnmp o'O'n «m te 'c, quoted by Dr. Vogelstein (Gesckickte
der Juden in Rom, I, p. 186, n. 6), does not belong to the original MS., but
is merely due to the compiler of the index, a converted Jew named
J. Baptista Jona.
VOL. XI. C C
356 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
Yehudah Leon ben Moses Mosconi (see Magazin Berliner,
1878, 310 "iyiN, p. 017), mentions a shorter and a longer
text, to which I shall refer later. The date of the
original composition has been a matter of much dispute.
The veteran Professor Chwolson (in the Sammelband of the
DWO '•XVD, 1897, &bb) TIC, p. 5) contends that the Hebrew
text, as found in the editio princeps, was written towards the
latter half of the ninth century, on the following grounds :
(1) the learned Mussulman Ibn Hazm, who died in the year
1063 A.D., was acquainted with the translation from Hebrew
into Arabic made by a Jew in Yemen. The passage in
which he mentions it is found in a Leyden MS. (Catal.,
no. 1982), and was kindly sent to me by Dr. Steinschneider,
who received it from Dr. Schreiner in Hebrew characters.
I subjoin the extract in Arabic characters, as copied for me
by Dr. KampfFmeyer, with some slight variations.
aj^.tII j^>\ Sit jjfJi sJyi) LJJj JiS &jl« »jLi> Ja-ftj^i i J-«-»-l i^iii
u-j-yk ellil eJLlJJ *J>i ^j Jls pj I4lk.1l 5>j Updi J L-~» ]^i
-jkUkcj ^,Li».j Jj]^— 1 jjt) l*X». ^ eJJLll Ijui Ji5 uvjijA ^
..5LJ1 L^-glc- *^r<> (^J ^ y ~ .g-c ^. g ~ U (jLi> ^tjS'sJ Jj icU*
«• lju* ^jiS\
" Yusuf ibn Koryon lived until the time of Christ (on whom he
peace), and gave an account of their kings and wars till the
murder of Yahya son of Zacharia (on whom be peace), of whom
he speaks most favourably, and whom he praises highly, asserting
that he was unjustly killed for speaking the truth. He also speaks
favourably of baptism, which he does not disapprove, nor regard
as Tiseless. Speaking of that king (Herod son of Herod), he says :
' This king put to death many of the sages of Israel, and of their
great and good men.' And he mentions no more than this of the
history of Jesus Christ the Son of Mary (on whom be peace)."
Professor Chwolson next argues (2) that " from the time
of the composition of the original work in Italy until its
I. PSEUDO-JOSEPHUS, JOSEPH BEN GORION 357
translation from Hebrew into Arabic in Yemen, and the
return of this translation to Spain (where Ibn Hazm was
living), we must allow at least 150 or 175 years." This
seems to me a rather liberal allowance of time, and
perhaps we might reduce the interval at least to fifty
years. Rapoport 1 and Gratz (Geschichte der Juden, V,
3rd ed., p. 235, n. 2 and p. 295) propose the end of the ninth
or beginning of the tenth century, and the latter is now
the date most generally accepted by scholars. Weiss
(Jiidische Tradition, IV, p. 224, n. 5) places the author
a little earlier than the celebrated liturgist Eleazar Kalir,
who lived in the ninth century. Drs. Vogelstein and Rieger
(Geschichte der Juden in Rom, I, p. 185 sqq.) argue for the
tenth century, but the pages which they devote to our
author contain little that is new on the subject. I must
further mention the ingenious arguments of Dr. Konrad
Trieber (Nachrichten der K. Gesellschaft d. Wiss. zu Gottin-
gen, Fhil.-H.iat. Klasse, 1895, Heft 4) in support of the view
that the Yosippon was composed in the fourth century,
on the ground of its pure and classical Hebrew. " Unser
Autor selbst schreibt in reinem, biblischem Hebraisch, seine
Sprache und sein Ton ist schlicht und sachlich, erhebt sich
aber in tragischen Momenten . . . zu kunstlerischer Vollen-
dung." This favourable verdict on his style, however, is
unfortunately reversed by Professor Siegmund Fraenkel
(ZDMG., vol. L, p. 418 sqq.), who shows that the Hebrew
is more than half Rabbinic, although the writer borrows
the phraseology of the Bible wherever he can do so.
In my opinion, the arguments by which the date must be
determined are mainly these : (1) That no Jewish writer men-
tions Yosippon before Dunash b. Tamim, whom Munk places
about the middle of the tenth century (see Journ. Asiat.,
1850, p. 18, n. 2); (2) That it is not named in the writings
of the Geonim, although it must be admitted that a great
many of these are lost ; (3) That there is no trace of it in
the collection of chronicles and fragments to which I have
1 See more fully in Zunz, Oottesdienstliche Vortrage, 1892, p. 158, and notes.
C C 3
358 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
devoted two volumes of the Anecdota Ooconiensia (1887
and 1895), no * even in that of A. D. 1100, written in Arabic
and in Egypt. According to Mosconi again (loc. cit.,
p. 012), the earliest evidence for the text of Yosippon is in
connexion with the names of Abraham b. David, Abraham
b. P^V?N and Samuel TMn (circ. A.D. 1060), who made
abridgements of the book. It may be inferred from
Mosconi's preface that he had not seen the Great Yosippon
(iukd major) from which the ordinary Hebrew text (mro
minor), as in the editio princeps, is abridged. We have
in a MS. recently acquired by the Bodleian Library (MS.
Heb. d. 11) fragments of a "Great Yosippon" (5>njn J1BW)
which may possibly belong to this Yosippon "»JND. They
are there attributed to the little known Yerahmeel
b. Shelomoh (see Med. Jew. Chron., I, introd., p. xx sqq.),
of whom I propose to speak farther on, giving a collection
of his unpublished compositions.
I may mention as a curiosity that Yosippon appears
to have been known in Persia at the beginning of the
fourteenth century. See Prof. Bacher in the Rev. des
fitudes J wives, XXXVII, p. 145.
With regard to the Arabic version, there is no reason
to doubt Ibn Hazm's statement quoted above, that it was
made by a Jew resident in Yemen. Among the MS.
fragments obtained from Cairo in the last few years by the
Eodleian Library are six leaves (MS. Heb. e. 45, ff. 101 sqq.)
of this version written in the Rabbinical character of Yemen,
and containing the history of Aristobulus (Dl^riDX), &c,
and of Crassus. The fragment begins as follows : —
"vuddk^k nhm. roe n^y p«ii rnvsna Drwoa 'vdb ptb jvnna
D^TVIDK mn fNJOT^N "]b"\ 'Bl !>Kp TT^K }DnNl nbpB tODWlDD
IVl^K 1162 ,L N N31 D1MBJK nJ3K nyD 2Tff\ T1KD }0 DUpTA 13N
bnpi Diaxua noma m-ixna dun'm *pbi fro pio rrbis yonix
frm ^x rbvm NT'DN rrnNl rbaii. (See the Arabic version
of 2 Maccabees xxxix.) The corresponding Hebrew, on
fol. 57 of the Mantua edition, is as follows : —
I. PSEUDO-JOSEPHUS, JOSEPH BEN GOKION 359
ncN -i*jjd3^n dn i^n Nam n^y on!>M -vyn ^y Ditf^aa nyi • • •
Tuoaiw pai Dwraa pa ab& nwyb ib pnnni -jam DibinDns
nan -rye ua dwdjki DibinDns ma N\in nya • • • ab& wi
'a iiaa b»n s^sa vi>y bsn tbwwz th Dito^Dai • ntur px bx
b~\y\ ins new an ny dn DibiriDnt* s-n pcs-in vnaa m iat
ncrte niajo b»n d^n ii oyn bo ina^i loyo Dyn n^T tin
non^oi? Diswai ri5opi> n^i * bs ^ao uib* t6i oma iaitf n!> ib>n
Dwwaa ny isa new rnin' ^ni d"dii ^n ind naa ^na «a ib'k
s^k D3 i^bm ^tyn ova vw ' • • : roi T3 nenW> DibinonN i>y
D^ainons inb«i -ny c«on nanoa niani> lain ntw* ins miaa
yaia inro »a ny d^vh n^yvaa inix ljrean tra-i rion Dn^i mb
jo lrtNa-n Ditwaa bt< viinb»i inna^i pni> ha^i wtn ^y new i>nan
.♦owroa tidx noii i>N mr6e»i *ny imDtn niaon
On fol. 102 the MS. fragment begins a new section, thus :
Diai'N nsy iron ^n dun* aa *wy xoh tap : wita did-o -iaa
nb W tamtnp jo W>j TNpa mala ih onta jfaa onta ^y
^n ^aia mpota rva ^n nji ina -oDya rwon }o -ikdb did-o
taionta ;» rra no y*oi mojp f«a Kartata atam r6ta rva
.... -iryta n^» tap' t&h npita "j^i '•a -nasta jntuta jndi.
(2 Maccabees xli.) Corresponding to ed. Mant., ff. 57 d
and 58 : —
ten* vr>&>n yom rutyn naipr6 \ti • non ta ae^i dk>d yci
naa ^na didij nn m^E"i nci Dna lyt^a vj vsyv ai mso ii nnna
riN nnp> n* n^i « byn bx t*y\ obwv xy\ didij "iiay^i n«D
nnn nwai ant ^inam onaa D'ai'N db> nvw « ^na ib^n anrn
• • • iry^N ion brn ;na nc rrn
A comparison of the Arabic version with the Hebrew
text of the Mantua edition will show that the former iB
considerably the shorter. It agrees, except for slight
variations, with the Arabic version contained in two
British Museum MSS. (nos. i, xi and 31), in two Bodleian
MSS. (Marshall Or. 139, Hunt. 238), and in the edition
printed at Beyrouth about ten years ago. (This edition
360 THE JEWISH QUARTEKLY REVIEW
is now not to be bought, but I was fortunate enough
to obtain the loan of a copy through Mr. H. W. Hogg.)
The Arabic Mace, ii also exhibits the same text, though
still further shortened. That the Arabic was intended as
a compendium of the Hebrew is indeed definitely stated
in another fragment (MS. Heb. d. 64, fol. 121), consisting
of a single leaf, also in the Rabbinical character of Yemen,
and containing on the verso the first nine lines of the
Arabic version. The entire passage, so far as it can be
read, is as follows l : —
jinu p ?i[dv ^k 31d]3»^n asris^N p -wtuk nd nojhn tan
nnybv -itaatt "oil vxrbx rvafo m» >a "limta "waaK '•a
Trbx onmijn rc&t* mxcy nnax "ud DncwK '•a ro • • • • ^ni
enJN nhx nen nt? "tax din axm^ h[w] • ruy tai ma jk ^n
rot • ro nhs' icfo i»i> ihs nWrcn n[$>B>vi]o -6in ium iun
• DTm ipry\ by\r\) jw noi [ju]oi now li'iN na>i na^ Dim de> "l^ix
• o^ni dtd iwvu ne»!>K fv 'oai * no-uirn nam Hats** idu ^ai
h[d] kcnb 'ND'a W3D nta jiiNiDiw na[n]i na 11 wa ^xap mm
IMD^ H^K |WtOV$>K DH fn • }ND&03 pN ^3 UDD'' ^K DilB
.NMITpNOl ' • N3 pN3
" This is an abbreviated version of the book attributed to Joseph
b. Gorion, consisting of the history of the Jews at the time of the
second temple, and the history of their kings and ... in their days,
from the beginning of the restoration of the temple and their
return to it, until its destruction and the dispersion. The book
begins : Adam begat Seth, ..."
The Arabic seems to me here to be shorter than any known
text of the original Hebrew. Dr. Trieber (op. cit., p. 409) ex-
presses a desire that the " arabische Uebersetzung zuganglich
gemacht und fur die Herstellung eines gesauberten Textes
verwendet wiirde," not knowing of the Beyrouth edition,
which is as inaccessible as a MS. Prof. Wellhausen, in
his "Der arabische Josippus" (Abhandlungen d. K. Ges.
1 Cf. the introduction to MS. Marshall (Or.) 139.
I. PSEUDO-JOSEPHUS, JOSEPH BEN GOBION 361
cl. Wiss. zu Gottingen, Phil.-Hist. Klasse, neue Folge, Bd. I,
no. 4, Berlin, 1897), rightly concludes that the version was
made from the Hebrew, although he had only the inferior
Paris MS. at his disposal.
It remains to consider the possible date at which such
a work might have been produced in Yemen. That
settlements of Jews existed there certainly before the
eleventh century is shown by the early epitaphs given
by Prof. Chwolson in his Corpus Inscriptionum Hebrai-
carum (p. 126 sqq.) of the years 687 to 749. We have
positive evidence that a congregation existed there early
in the twelfth century ; see the article on Nathan'el al-
Fayyumi, by Dr. R. Gottheil, in the Festschrift zwm 8o sten
Geburtstage M. Steinschneiders, p. 144.
In order not to omit anything, I shall conclude with
a list of names of places in Yemen occupied by Jews.
Besides being important in connexion with the above
remarks, perhaps it may also serve as a contribution
towards the Jewish geography of Yemen. The list has
been collected, with the help of Prof. Biichler (Vienna),
from the colophons of all the known Yemen MSS. except
those in America. The names are arranged alphabetically,
with an indication of the MSS. in which they are found.
Professor Margoliouth kindly compared them with the
forms found in Hamdani (H.) and Yakut (Y.), and his
comparisons are added.
DIN JV3 Brit. Mus. Orient. 2746. Cf. Glaser, die Abessinier,
p. 11 sq.
'DOT Oxford 2346. Cf. (j^j OuJ Hamdani.
•0t6m^N or ^ro^K Brit. Mus. Orient. 2417. J\J H.
biy nu ndd Ramsgate, brim emo (jvk'k-o).
}V"U iru MS. Schechter.
bib* Oxford 2338. J^ill H.
Utrufo nnp xriD Berlin, p. 62; Brit. Mus. Orient. 1483 nnjfo.
Cf. c_ >\je- ^ait.
WStrvbtt Brit. Mus. Orient. 2387.
362 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
*»D"ubK Oxford 2498.
Wfotl Brit. Mus. Orient. 2227.
D313n Berlin, p. 61. ^Loi t H.
ytO*l Oxford 2333.
1KB H NflO Oxford 2523, 2.
">K»*1 Brit.Mus. Orient. 1479; Add.9398; Berlin, p.61. .LoH.
>3K"d$>n rra ncoa Oxford 2328. U L-, H.
NlJni'K Berlin, p. 95.
^t^jnta Brit. Mus. Orient. 2365. ^iUj H.
H3tn or H33H Berlin, p. 68.
Waspt nnp MS. Schechter.
B>N3n Brit. Mus. Orient. 2348, 2365 ; 2350 »B*3n and B»3n }3N.
uCJ^-*- P ro per name ? cf. ^j*^ H.
'itdnta Brit. Mus. Orient. 2218. Freedman of -.Is* ?
tOJnfo NTIO Berlin, p. 115. jJ*1 H.
NIDn Nn» Oxford 2493. ^W*?
bhn Brit. Mus. Orient. 2348. SUa,:C? Y.
WINXn^K Oxford 2523. i^Uc^ 1 ? H.
p3Vnb« NnO Brit. Mus. Orient. 2212. ^li-io. H.
3tnn i>N3i MS. Schechter.
n^iei'N n^lO Brit. Mus. Orient. 2422; Berlin, pp. 62, 68.
"•^IB^N Oxford 2346 ; Brit. Mus. Orient. 1470, 2349.
*VD^K Brit. Mus. Orient. 2212. j£o\ H.
SHB^N Brit. Mus. Orient. 1472. v^t H.
•"Ittt^K Oxford 2517.
nnata Brit. Mus. Orient. 2746.
U^a^N Oxford 2346.
"iKDi^K 1V3 Brit. Mus. Orient. 1472.
proiw "D MS. Wertheimer.
fUroiw Brit. Mus. Orient. 2212.
bprbtt Hjd Brit. Mus. Orient. 2218. Ji*. H.; Jjts* H.
nnioi'N or nilD^N Brit. Mus. Orient. 2672. ^JLl (tribal
HODID^N l»3 Berlin, p. 62.
niNDlD^N Brit. Mus. Orient. 1483.
I. PSEUDO-JOSEPHUS, JOSEPH BEN GOEION 363
"Otn«D$>N Brit. Mus. Orient. 1475. J\x~*.
nytwebx KTIO Oxford 2631, fol. 54. yn^l H.
"Uyo WlD Brit. Mus. Orient. 1475; Oxford 2328. j^u> H.
iNDiD^N NT1D Brit. Mus. Orient. 1483; MS. Wertheimer.
"•JIDXcfrN Oxford 2498.
fbpdpa rV3 Berlin, p. 95.
nnsno^K ndd Oxford 2346. r'jy- ? H -
Tb^K 1B3 Brit. Mus. Orient. 1483.
nwobN Oxford 2346. ^,l^_J\ H.
B>Np3?N Brit. Mus. Orient. 2223. Name of a place or
i^ID^N or fyivbx Oxford 2328. For n^1Q above.
niD^N Oxford 2333; Berlin, 8° 338; niDD^K Brit. Mus. Orient.
2215; •nttobx 2354. jyM % H.
"rWy n» Oxford 2498. ^Lc H.
py Oxford 1451, 1521 ; Berlin, pp. 95, 97. ^xc H. &c.
"»Dy INT Berlin, p. 95.
3JJ&N 1*3 Berlin, p. 95.
'Myfo Berlin, p. 68.
'Dtnyta Oxford 2328. ^jg. H.
Dny^N NDD Oxford 2346; Brit. Mus. Orient. 2746.
DViyi>N spa NflE Oxford 2346; Brit. Mus. Orient. 2354.
^mnsi'N Brit. Mus. Orient. 2350.
nriNV^N Oxford 2377, 2397; Brit. Mus. Orient. 2212. ^UaJI H.
"Vshu Berlin, p. 95.
3tH¥ Oxford 2488.
atro WIO Oxford 2488.
"TTy^K Oxford 2382.
•>Jxt rP3 NflD Oxford 2497, 2498.
K3X Oxford 2328, 2488, 2514; Berlin, pp. 67, 68, 95; Brit.
Mus. Orient. 2227, 2349; Kohut 6. For *Ujl«o H.
*»«¥•« Brit. Mus. Orient. 2417. For \\ - ^ ,
HDIpD^K K3Y Brit. Mus. Orient. 2223. « U ; - ?
•HJJV^N Brit. Mus. Orient. 2349. j'ju«-o H.
yiD • • • p Berlin, p. 68.
364 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
^pta, D" 1 ? 133 Berlin, pp. 61, 71, 104. Tribal name.
ri3Xp^N W1D Oxford 2522, 2523. L^ill H.
nN3"l ttflD Oxford 2498. i»b, H.
U'jrfot Brit. Mus. Orient. 2365. cr Ji^ ?
flDnjn? Oxford 2328.
DyJD Oxford 2338; Brit. Mus. Orient. 1482. »cLj H.
^yjnta Brit. Mus. Orient. 2212. Id.
•3-iniw Berlin, p. 73.
YERAHMEEL BEN SHELOMOH.
Since the year 1887 new evidence has come to light
for the history of the Yosippon-text. In that year the
Bodleian Library acquired, from the late R. N. Rabinowitz,
a manuscript (now MS. Heb. d. 11) consisting of 388 leaves
on vellum, quarto, written in an old German Rabbinical
character. (The general number will be found in the
Supplement to my Catalogue, which will shortly be com-
pleted.) I have already spoken of this MS., and given
some quotations from it in Gratz's Monatsschrift for 1887,
p. 504 sqq. According to the fragment of a calendar at
the beginning of the volume it appears to have been written
in the year 1325 a.d. by Eleazar b. Asher hal-levi. Among
the various treatises which it contains is the greater
part of the text of Yosippon, in which the name of the
compiler, Yerahmeel, frequently occurs, and a bvun JWDV
is also mentioned 1 . The writer is sometimes called in full,
Yerahmeel ben Shelomoh vNcrrvn, and sometimes simply
foerrv. Thus on fol. 26 the copyist says 1T5&N ^jn "iC"
Nim m pjo pay nw *tb ^run jib^dvh n^nno |to airoi) *bn
pawn iQD rpTin . Then follows a short passage of Yosippon,
agreeing in the main with the ed. princeps, from "OJ na' 1 'ill
1 On ff. 15a 1 " and 153 are marginal references, in an Italian cursive hand,
to a nsi: ps'Dv (see my Med. Jew. Chrcm., I, p. ix, note 5).