Skip to main content

Full text of "A Fihrist of Sa'adya's Works"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 



Ibn Daud mentions in his historical work {I.e., 66) as 
a source for Sa'adya's biography an epistle which the 
Gaon's son, Dosa, sent to the celebrated Jewish statesman 
in Spain, Hasdai ibn Shaprut. Dosa was hitherto the only 
known son of Sa'adya. 1 T.-S. 6 J 9 1 (paper, square writing, 
damaged, left-hand side torn) contains an interesting list 
of his works. The colophon of the fragment shows that 
the MS. dates from Tishri 1425 Sel. (= 11 13 c. E.). But 
the list itself was copied from one which two of the 
Gaon's sons, Sheerit Alluf and his brother Dosa, composed 
on request when eleven years had not yet passed since the 
demise in 942 of their great father. We are given the 
exact time and date when the Gaon died, viz. at the end 
of the second third of Sunday night, Iyyar 26th, 1253 Sel., 
corresponding to May 15th, 942 C. J£. From Sherira's 
Letter {I.e. 40, 11. 1-2) we know that Sa'adya became Gaon of 
Sura in Iyyar 928 C.E. Our fragment tells us that his con- 
nexion with this academy lasted for fourteen years less four 
days. Accordingly his accession to the Gaonate took place 
on Thursday, Iyyar 22nd = May 15th, 928 c. E. Finally, 
according to Ibn Daud, the Gaon's life lasted for about fifty 
years, and this has hitherto been the general opinion. But 

1 See especially Poznai'iski's biography of Dosa in Haggoren, VI, 41 ff. 



our Fihrist states that his life fell short of sixty years by 
some forty and odd days (see verso, 1. 5). 2 Needless to say 
the latter number is the more correct one. 

So much for the biographical data which our fragment 
furnishes. It reads as follows : 

(recto, colophon) 
aiD ;d'd (3) mo ^y nw nmm (2) rbb "roniw anaiw nn (1) 
iajn 3 '' tint (5) pan in rra d»p»i hv6k (4) ma iai> nns'i 
4 e» bi sriNT tmbv ^a» (7) me»i Nnmsa 3'nan (6) no i>a 
hiriN (10) ncn a rta (9) jon jdn fea (8) 



YVV *?np e>k"i 

pxi dw 


on D'aiu 

5 lis 

xna baip 

nwn nyas 


mp •oo 

npsii'x aon 

5 N 

ioi> "JOD 


These mnemonics are not clear to me. 


[w wjs^K nnyD i:-ai ana Dins om 6e>a 

a 'PN mxi?is xna ana ^y nana rrirn 

c . . . r6i . . . . bwa na ^[n] »s nmiwD is 

.... vxnx vn[tc] noni eji^N rinse iana 

[na]^]a rut? t ;no d[>] 6 .0 dw d"e>b*o nine 5 

2 Very likely in Ibn Daud TO& 'I |33 KliTl, ~'D (not fully rounded up) 
was misread by a copyist as '3 . 

3 Prov. s. 5. * = 5>n-ie>\ 6 = nns. 

6 The missing letter can only be one of the first nine of the 
alphabet (B-K). 


eiiM 13c W>3 -ib[s3]i o^Jd" i nn"Dn rvonn 

cmm anew ne>e>3 njia^jnn miqcKn 

[mn]s ms'DN^ dim ani s\b[x] nvthv tw 

.... nnpn in-ray "inc mpon iw sod 

[iTinJiern rurai'* . . . x '[{ynf's -mno son nti 10 

[i]n noi 'jnvd «5>a p . . . 3 i>o«3 nnin^N 

[ni]»e> rbto sori ^k rct^x-o p y«itt3 

. . . [3]kti31 a ma nnso sap^i] Deacon rbtn 

. . 3 nsnsn mn »!>« rwso3 p fs«ni>s« -iKnw 

. . . r6s<xs<si>Ni cinw dws&n pi b yNyD3 nsii 15 

. . . my riKcn-n d fining pi ne>y nn p ^kdd 

[n]^n D , 3inai'K pi e i>KiDN xi'ii' . . . x .txto ai» 

'[rD]W '5>tWn h^B>D1 K3VN1 f T33 STlSD nx r6i 

. . . . 'n^> mxi •own »a rtaoi k -in[Ds<] d^di 
m nsos«2Ni>N 3sri3i 7 ns<i^D^ nno nai>i»i>s< sruiw pi 20 

i>S< 3S<n31 °y>Sni$>K 3D31 n nK1Kne>5>K 3XD31 

8r ysnE>D yoa 3Nn3i «rrw ni3i>n TDSn[l] P. . . 

^>NB3N y[D?]i>s< 3NH31 'jnio^ mnfo yoj aural 

w nt6xS>[n 3i?i J^n 3Nri3i T ni3^^s< nosspso trr . . . . btt 

The Fihrist seems to be incomplete (probably another 
page is missing), since no mention is made of the Gaon's 
Sepher Haggalui, Agron, or his responsa ; the latter are 
expressly referred to in the heading on 1. 10. 

•• Read perhaps 1WUN1 1WVB. 

1 Read nSflbx^K. 8 Read »»«-«>!«. 





a It is stated here explicitly that Sa'adya indeed trans- 
lated the whole of the Pentateuch into Arabic, but supplied 
a commentary only to the first half of Genesis (c. 1-28 9 ) as 
well as to the whole of Exodus and Leviticus. The division 
of the five books of Moses into two halves each was already 
in vogue in the time of 'Anan, as has been shown elsewhere. 9 

After the Gaon's death, it seems that Aaron b. Sarjado, 
his bitter opponent during the conflict with David b. Zakkai, 
set himself the task of continuing the work where Sa'adya 
left off. However, apparently only the second half of 
Deuteronomy was commented upon by him (c. i6 18 -end). 
It fell to the lot of Samuel b. Hofni successfully to complete 
the undertaking to furnish the remainder of the Pentateuch 
with an Arabic commentary, viz. the second half of Genesis 
(c. 28 10 -end), the whole of Numbers, and the first half of 
Deuteronomy (c. 1-16 17 ). This complete work, the product 
of three scholars connected with the Sura academy, was 
before Joseph Rosh Hasseder b. Jacob Rosh be-Rabbanan of 
Fustat when he wrote in 11 11 C.E. his commentary (really 
a collection of views of other authors) on the Haftarot. 10 It 

9 See Mann, Journal of Jewish Lore and Philosophy, I, 1919, p. 348, note 6. 

10 More about this scholar, infra, p. 44a, note 7, and my work, vol. I, 243. 
Bodl. 2624 1 ', which contains a copy of Joseph's work, has a colophon 
(fol. 83, recto) wherein the writer states that the author Joseph, " l i?JJ S)pl 

-Dion 'i>N mot? n^Ni joi nxm by rvwra \a nrbrbx. rnirfrs "VDsri 
1:3-6 d'dbc "b» -Dim [|d]i nictr r\Wi ba hs'i jui rvnvo imi> 
nxriD p p™ 1:3-6 min5>N nix 6k D'ost? joi yen p bttmv. 

The work of the last scholar seems to have been split up into pamphlets 
for the Sidrot. Thus Or. 5554, B., fol. 3, recto, begins 6m DE>3 (1) 

new rrkbs (3) ix?"id i>i tpv ■iu pnx ib D*5vi ddk rrajn (2) 
njnD bmi (5) utwi "inn rrnnna mw m (4) 3W jib6[3] "0*03 
Dns win |X3 3S1» ni3-iv3 iB^ncoi i^nx (6) nne e»K m:* it? 


should only be added that in the book-list (printed by 
Poznariski, ZfHB., VII, 184-5, no - 5) tftsatPon rbm tdbji 
is not for this Sidrah only, as Poznariski thinks, but for the 
second half of Exodus (c. 21-end). The same applies to 
no. 6, ibid., where the second half of Leviticus (c. 1 6-end) 
is meant. 

b This work, called ' choice of practices ', probably dealt 
with the laws of the Pentateuch in the order given to them 
in the five books of Moses. Sa'adya furnished them with 
a commentary. In the book-list (published by Bacher, 
R£j., XXXIX, aoo, no. 22) there is mentioned a part of 
this work, viz. on Genesis (3[~Kro |D W]N13 tbd tdd 1»1, 
[nnyD l]m spiwn "iNnr^N, cp. Bacher, ibid., 206, no. 9, and 
Poznariski, ZfHB., I.e., 186, no. 20). 

c About the commentary on Isaiah, see Steinschneider, 
Arab. Liter atur, p. 56 f. 

d ' Explanations of words of . . . questions ' based on 
Minor Prophets and the Pentateuch. This work is so far 
unknown. It is doubtful whether ffiyDp "WS nn -roan 
{ZfHB,, I.e., 184, no. 3) formed a part of it. 

e Sa'adya seems to have composed a number of sermons 
(DKEm = fflrn) which are, however, not enumerated. 

f The commentary on Psalms had an extensive intro- 
duction. See Steinschneider, /. c, 57. 

s~ k About these commentaries see Steinschneider, I.e., 
57 ff. Those on Job and Esther are also mentioned in the 
book-list in ZfHB., I.e., p. r85, nos. 11 and 14. As regards 

D'SVJ. There follow explanations of Deut. 29. 12 (vv. 10-11 are left out) 
and (on the last line of manuscript) on VH JIN Cllin 1TIBD }yoi> (v. 18 ; 
the intervening verses are not commented upon). Aaron's commentary on 
^^^^3^ nt<n is quoted in a fragment of a work on the calendar by Joseph 
b. Yehuda Rosh Hasseder of Mahdiya (JQR., XVI, 692, see XVII, 169 f.). 



the Daniel commentary, see especially Poznariski, Haggoren, 
II, 92-103. 

1 Evidently a translation of the ' scroll of the sons of 
Hashmonai ' (the Maccabees), prefaced by an introduction. 
It is probably identical with NiTOjttDl "Wwn >J3 rt^Di (ZfHB., 
I.e., no. 15), as well as with the item in R£j., I.e., no. 33, 
niDSD wiDtrn ya rfao i-vsi. 

m The well-known Siddur and the famous religious- 
theological work. 

n An Halakic work on evidence (ntty), probably 
identical with the one mentioned in R&J., I.e., no. 38, 
& iTTJJD U2-b i"KDD iTSl DKINnB^K PMD Ml). It seems that 
the Gaon incorporated therein some of his responsa on 
this subject. 

An Halakic work on pledges (jVipa). See Stein- 
schneider, I.e., 49, no. 5. 

p Owing to the lacuna, it cannot be ascertained what 
this work was. 

9 His well-known commentaiy on Yesirah ; ' the laws 
of Yesirah ' = Sepher Yesirah (so also Sherira in a 
responsum, ed. Harkavy, no. 29). 

r ' A collection of laws ', probably an Halakic work. 
But perhaps it is identical with the treatise on the defence 
of the revealed laws (see Steinschneider, I.e., 50, no. 13). 

8 The Gaon's defence of the precept of kindling lights 
on Friday night (against the Karaites). This work is also 
mentioned in JQR., XIII, 55, no. 78, ruD^N jjod ^ rbxpQ) 
nnj?D '~b (see also Poznariski, ibid. 329-30). 

* This seems to have been a polemical work. 

v About this treatise on the calendar ("iia^), see Stein- 
schneider, /. c, 63, no. 26. 

w See above, p. 416.