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(Sixth Article.) 

Taylor-Sohechter Collection: Paper, two leaves, 12 x 10 
cm., upper part much damaged. 

The fragment to be discussed in this article forms part 
of a booklet which contained a work on the calendar, 
and begins in the middle of a page. Not only is its title 
quite unknown, but the author, Joseph b. Judah, also 
is extremely difficult to identify. At first sight one might 
be tempted to suggest Joseph b. Judah Ibn Aknln, the 
famous disciple of Maimonides, and the coincidence of the 
names is apparently supported by the fact that both came 
from, or lived in North Africa. Here, however, the 
similarity ends, and a much larger array of arguments rises 
up against this theory. Joseph b. Aknln was a native of 
Ceuta, and we know from the communications of Arab 
authors, collected by Munk 1 , that after the expulsion of 
the Jews from the Maghreb he emigrated to Egypt. The 
author of our fragment, however, occupied a high ecclesias- 
tical position at Al Mahdiyya, a place situated very close to, 
or in this instance identical with, Kairowan 2 . There is no 
intimation to be found anywhere that Joseph b. Aknln 
ever resided in this town. It is even improbable that he 
did so, since all Jews had been expelled from his country. 

1 Notice sur Joseph ben Jehouda, &c, Journ. As., 184a, p. 5 sqq. 
8 See Jaqiit ed. H. P. Wuestenfeld, IV, p. 693 sqq. 


Apart from this, the title of our treatise is not to be found 
in any list of Joseph b. Aknin's writings 1 . 

If our Joseph b. Judah is a different person, it seems 
that he lived at an earlier period. The employment of the 
name Al Mahdiyya for Kairowan would point to a period 
when the power of the Fatimide Califs was still in the 
ascendancy. Thus our author probably flourished in the 
eleventh or twelfth century. 

There is yet another point which gives probability to 
this, a point which at the same time raises the interest 
attaching to the fragment. It contains a quotation from 
the commentary on the Pentateuch by Aaron b. Sargadu 2 , 
the rival of Saadyah. Although the existence of this work 
has been known, every trace of it had been lost. The fact 
that we see it quoted shows that it must have been con- 
sidered valuable in its time. At the period of Joseph b. 
Aknin it was probably forgotten. Joseph b. Judah's 
treatise deals with the Jewish calendar, and even in these 
scant relics the author shows himself well acquainted with 
the current standard of Arab astronomy. 

T-S. 8 Fa. 1 *. 

^t min 11 -a *)DV 'n naiw kod "vayh* 3KDr6 jk^k aww tnn Poi. i 
btr\&> "vbt& rbbtt yixan b»pt ru&io nnnai* Minoiw -non ptn ITfron 
h^n nbvbtt pnbx i?d?K fyxbx fatrvrbxi irsaobx *hm6k nntttta bottom - 
miai pbibx jnniNi dn^n '1 "a aire turn pn^ni nxiKCD^N pbi 

T\>bx npbi yt«n • ' roon bi m roNt? nstWKi Poi. 2 

nyo -\nbn •}«•••• [n ?]W>j n-uv tb\ "\[u]bn bwbx qv * ' • • 

v>bi " " t6i sm n^in yama Tino^ »a nd d^xjji jskd 

k.timk ndjki "po tot vb iwn m r6ipa (sic) ubxo fin' pa 

1 See Steinschneider, -4ra&. Z«. d. Juden, p. 230 sqq. 
8 As to the different ways of spelling this name, see Neubauer, Med. Chr., 
II, pp. 80-3, or Steinsch., 1. c, p. 71. 


TP^iobb VT 310 *3 11NH DN 0>nbx NT1 'lp3 npi>3 J«o5> ^NJ?D 

2^n di^n * p^a Dii n^ 3101 iisn pmoi ffonfo ^Np no aon 
(sic) mxoDN fionpn kui '•in' 1 xb na awn npbi vsnb vp~ba 
ttb own wi own run Ms ^Np km (sic) pinx^Ni nKioota 
w 'ipa pnfca p&6x rai y*oat» joonj }N3 jk oop jx mi ^Wa* 
rpiraowi neon nx rbn dnjj phxirc )bw mb cm pi ^nao 
♦a ha ^«yn njs Nismnx pya:! ^"i *a jn3b ypin nx moo ntsw 
nxain ru» ^nn j^ of>ty£n ns^n na ^n -ioo!?x "rrisn yp-6« 
fiaba bs ND3yjo yj-m i5>y^« <>b» yam-a pxta nx-ixaa n3 -irrin 
•nin nW 33ni3^n nnxa na ^wb npia nd!>n niu fa ata ya^Ni 
»b nhffl oni (writa *e ni>ya on) rp"£ bo ie>n com 'ipa p^x 
p^x yaji> d-i^n inoi nnai yiioS too^M yonasa ita ovta 
nn rhxoy^i uaoW> din uai? jdj pxm '1^ o*ok» nmem nhpa 
'ipa n^n ppi^ro^ -iNon^Ni ytnnhn nsa^N T-ND^ma p^a 

Foi. 2 S>p * • [nb]\pb " " ndjni ^iai?N tkdi sew rmnsb "vxn rrewo 
»jb6n • • • -inuk^k ita [ovbn '•a] p$>a Dn m; bxp\ pan 

Prob. w. nro*03N nm&i rpbxbtt ya:6 • • • • nop^i dob^n ''ni ji nniNon 
•uooi awiaiw 'ipa lina n^n ann k!> in on-iaon oyoi onn^Noai 
•ix^o jei mDOt^x na^K "rtnb }oi -£n niKay ii vdv rowan 
"13 {nan pn« 'm 'io natfioiw Dto ■nrnt!' npi nnop^x aun 
aonh rrbv *ipi 3xnai>N oonbx jo na-nn nurb n-poan »a nNnt? 
cjBn D'-o^i anyioh mniNi> vni 'ipai pd^o iin^Ni dn^n^k 

it ic? >5)i^x pai pjD^Ni dn^^n ana mi xriNpixi nhn^n pn!' ^n rnxsyi 
y^ooi iine^N ^inni wd^n riNpw a^i ii onjnob m* ne>y Nyx 
nti riSoo n5^N3 i^mbtn b»bbtt snnNpix nxo^yi «nai*ui 33Nia^N 
bfm pnaNDoi>K pno ^nS nxos^yi na^N t»mdi poa^Ni hoj^n 
aso") phnD" 1 xnai !>kob6« 3dp^n »b '•n ^k B>yj nwai jroo^N 

fK ri33-ii5N3 1N DNn^>t«3 SJD31' NOT IDp^NI DBB^M f)1D3 D^JT nNH3i?N 

33Nia^ ;ki pyas Nnvya in^bn^ pbm }noi?N py3 in ^a sjioa jxa 
doc^n pny^N id jn i^a msoyi fiinfon ino^Ni ^>nf yjw n^s 
l^a ia 33Nia ii^N niNV irh\ i?s> i^a '•id «ni> d^ jkb -idp^ni 

• • • * na^a pis jsa Nisa nDBj 



This is a lucid treatise on the calculation of the calendar com- 
posed by R. Josef b. Judah, the chief of the Academy of Al Mahdiyya. 
The author says in preface : Praised be God, the God of Israel, The 
Only, The Eternal, whose unity is unparalleled, The Everlasting, 
the true King who created heaven and earth, and what is therein 
in six days. In his goodness he created man, and made him great 

his nobility The needs of his creatures ..... 

on the first day the light, but he did not create it coarse .... since 
the light dwelleth with him * ; he knows what is in . . the secrets 

He revealeth the deep and secret things 2 There 

is no darkness before him, as it is written : The darkness hideth not 
from thee s ; but God created it for the benefit of his creatures, as 
it is written: "And God saw the light that it was good"— viz. for 
creatures. In a similar strain the sage [king] says : The light is 
sweet and a pleasant thing for the eyes*. On the second day he 
created the firmament likewise for the benefit of his creatures, 
since heaven and earth are not able to grasp our Lord, hallowed 
be his names, as it is written : Behold, the heaven and heaven of 
heavens cannot contain thee s . . . . covered the whole surface of the 
earth with two reservoirs, as he says : And let it divide the waters 
from the waters. Our sages explain this : He crystallized the central 
drop and made the firmament of it 6 . Two advantages accrued from 
this. Firstly he placed in the firmament the source of the rain upon 
which the life of the world depends, because it causes movements, 
through which the vapours of the earth are stirred, raised up to the 
height, and sent down again to the earth. The second advantage 
is manifest. He arranged the reservoir of the water above in order that 
the stars should become apparent, lest the creatures be injured, as it is 
written: "And the waters which were above the firmament." This 
was what he did on the second day. On the third day he gathered 
the waters into one place, and the dry land appeared for the benefit 
of the creatures, as it is written 7 : " The heavens are heavens unto the 
Lord, but the earth he hath given to the children of men," to inhabit 
it and to live thereon. Then he planted on it all plants, seeds, and 
trees again for the creatures, as it is written 8 : He causes grass to 
grow for the cattle, and herb, &c. and other advantages as 

1 Deut. ii. 22. * Dan. ii. 22. 3 Ps. cxxxix. 12. 

4 Eccl. xi. 7. 5 1 Kings viii. 27. 6 Ber. Rabb. iv. 

7 Ps. cxv. 16. 8 Ps. civ. 14. 


he says 1 . . . "upon the earth." Then, on the fourth day, he created 

the lights which are "the lights," &c. These are the sun 

and the moon for the benefit of the creatures, for the health 

of and perfection of their bodies, and the eating of their fruits, 
because the latter can only become perfect through the sun, as it is 
written 2 : And for the precious fruit brought forth by the sun. The 
explanation is, that the most enjoyable corn is that shone upon 
by the sun and the pleasantest of grains is that influenced by the 
moon. The following is the explanation given by the Exilarch, A. H. bar 
Sargadu, in his Commentary on Deut. xxxiii : " He who consults the 
Holy Writ, abides by it, also for the calculation of the days, months, 
and years, as it is written : And they shall be for signs and for seasons, 
and for days and years."— The explanation of this is that they are 
signs and seasons, by means of which the days and years are calculated 
as the godly [king] said 3 : "He appointed the moon for seasons," &c, 
for the knowledge of the seasons of the year and the change of the 
months the rising and setting of the stars, as indications of their 
times by night and by day in the twenty-eight stations [of the moon] 
which are the horn of the Ram, Al Botein *, &c. Further as guides 
for travellers as the Polar star s or the Banat Na'sh", which are in the 
northern hemisphere, and serve sailors as guides. Through these 
signs the eclipses of the sun and moon are recognized, and whether 
the eclipse is an upper or a lower one, a partial or a total one. 
Further the conjunctions of planets. If the four planets Saturnus, 
Mars, Venus, and Mercury 

1 Ps. civ. 19. 2 Deut. xxxiii. 14. * Ps. cxv. 19. 

4 A small star in the constellation of Aries. 

The word is evidently corrupt, and is perhaps to be read ,i >noil' i »», the 
" polar star." 
* A star in Ursa major.