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Under the above heading Dr. A. Marmorstein printed in 
this Review (vol. VIII, 1-29) an article which included new 
material from the Genizah. The history of the Jews in Egypt 
and in Palestine under the Fatimid Caliphs is not yet written. 
This deficiency will only be made up when the remarkable 
Genizah finds completely see the light of publication. Judging 
from the past, we shall have to wait for many a year yet till this 
will be an accomplished fact. Every contribution, therefore, 
that augments our knowledge of this obscure period of Jewish 
history is to be gratefully accepted. But to be of scientific value, 
it must, of course, adequately present the new material. Only 
a few have the opportunity of re-examining the originals from 
which this material is taken. When manuscripts are improperly 
used, the result is a tangle of false conceptions to unravel which 
is indeed an uncongenial as well as thankless task. 

Working on a contribution to the history of this period, 
based chiefly on hitherto unpubUshed Genizah material, for the 
last three years, I had the occasion to study the fragments 
Dr. Marmorstein used in addition to a good many more. 
With a single-minded purpose of serving scientific truth, I am 
constrained, though with great reluctance, to make the following 
remarks on his paper. 

I. Before dealing with Solomon b. Judah proper, Dr. Marmor- 
stein discusses the preceding Geonim of the Palestinian school 
(pp. 3 ff.). The Memorial List (MS. Adler 2592), on which he 
bases his genealogy of the Geonim belonging to Ben-Meir's 
family, cannot be fully considered here. It is enough to say, that 
there exist three other lists about this family (Bodl. 2874^' 
and 2443, discussed by Poznafiski, REJ., LXVI, 60 ff. ; the third 



in the very same MS. Adler 2592) which Dr. Marmorstein entirely 
overlooked. As they are all contradictory, one Ust cannot be 
chosen at random without adducing other data for its veracity. 
But a signature in T.-S., 13 J. i6'^ Moses ISIDD b. Isaac ^^^^ 
b. Solomon ^3^^ b. Meir Gaon, is the cause of a long argument 
whether this Solomon nann is the famous Ben-Meir, the opponent 
of Sa'adya (pp. 4 ff.). The obvious, and at the same time weighty, 
objection (already brought forward by PoznaAski) that Ben-Meir, 
styled na'2" CST even by his adversaries, would not be mentioned 
here simply as a Haber, i. e. one that held a diploma from the 
academy, does not deter Dr. Marmorstein from deciding that 
Solomon is the Ben-Meir (p. 6). 

But why this superfluous arguing about a mere signature? 
Let us see what the fragment contains besides the signature, to 
whom it is addressed, if it be a letter, and who else is mentioned 
therein. Ndw it is an epistle written by Moses ^^"ID^ to a highly 
influential elder, Abu Sa'ad b. Sahl, in request of support. The 
writer mentions that he is in a hurry to visit his grandfather, who 
is ill. Accordingly Solomon ninn was then still alive. But 
who is this Abu Sa'ad? From about 1025 to 1048 we find him 
having intimate connexions with the Fatimid court at Cairo. 
The Caliph az-Zahir bought from him a beautiful Sudani slave, 
who became the mother of the next Caliph al-Mustansir (1036- 
1094). The Queen-mother (Walida) wielded great power in 
the court, especially since 1036, when she acted as regent for 
her seven-year-old son. Her former Jewish master, Abu Sa'ad, 
had since then become a persona grata till he was assassinated 
in 1048 (see Wiistenfeld, ' Geschichte der Fatimiden-Chalifen ' in 
Abhandlungen der Gottingen Gesellschaft der Wtssenschaften, 
vol. XXVII, Abteilung iii. i ff".). The Genizah has preserved 
several fragments bearing on this Abu Sa'ad and his brother 
AbuNasr, the sons of Sahl al-Tustari (modern Shuster in Persia), 
which will be published by me elsewhere. 

Now is it at all likely that the Ben-Meir of 921 was still alive 
in Aba Sa'ad's time ? The answer is, of course, in the negative. 
Several other data prove conclusively that Ben-Meir was succeeded 


by a son, called Meir, who is the father of the above Solomon 
nann. I can only give here the result of my investigations 
(to be printed elsewhere) as to the Gaonic family of Ben-Meir, 
viz. Moses, Meir I, Judah = Ben-Meir (921), Meir II, Abraham, 
Aaron, Joshiah (1015). 

But, writes Dr. Marmorstein (p. 8), 'We have further a 
fragment which enables us to fix the chronology of these Geonim. 
A letter, fragm. Adler, mentions severe persecutions in Sicily. 
The letter is written by Tl^K bar Hakim to Hananiah "Ab bet din " 
ben na''{r'n CNT , . . The father's name is missing. Hananiah 
is the father of Sherira, who became Gaon in the year 938/9. 
We assume, therefore, that Moses and his son Aaron I lived 
before 939.' What this has to do with the Palestinian Geonim 
the reader is at a loss to find out. But, forsooth, there occurs 
in the fragment (without Dr. Marmorstein telling us) the name of 
n^B'N'' N:n»1 [wn nJl^B'^n B'N-i. This led Dr. Marmorstein at 
once to assume that Hananiah was Sherira's father, and that ' the 
head of the school ' is his supposed Gaon Joshiah I. Again the 
question arises, What has the scholar of Pumbedita to do with 
the Palestinian Gaon ? 

Now let us state the facts. The address (verso) reads as 
follows : 

. . . ii [D]*3n nn ■'rha n[x ']jo 3n n^iin 3[n] 

ninNi [l]n nu 

m»i [n]vp fub mDi^[tJ' yi] n3''E''n cnt )n[3n] .... [in] 

Accordingly Hananiah was a Kohen, and his identity with 
Sherira's father is out of the question. The contents of the letter 
(which will be printed elsewhere) are thus. Joshiah, 'the head 
of the school ', wrote to Sicily requesting donations for his school. 
They were duly promised on a Sabbath, when the Gaon's letter 
was read before the congregation in the synagogue. But before 
the contributions could be collected such a heavy impost was 
made by the government that many people were ruined. The 
elders of the community do not like to reply to the Gaon without 
enclosing some money. Abu'1-Hayy, probably the local scholar, 


therefore writes to Hananiah, the Ab of the (Pahstinimi) academy, 
informing him of what happened, and promising to do his 
best for the school during the ensuing festivals. The letter is 
written on Rosh Hodesh Elul. This Hananiah Hakkohen was 
Ab under Joshiah, Gaon of Palestine in 1015, as will be shown 
elsewhere. Let me also add, that there is no justification whatever 
for Dr. Marmorstein's suggestion (pp. 13 and 15) that there were 
two academies in the Holy Land, one in Ramlah and the other 
in Jerusalem. Only the Gaon sometimes resided, instead of in 
the latter city, in the neighbouring Ramlah, the capital of the 
province of Philistia (Filastin) and the seat of the governor. This 
was the case with Ben-Meir, with Joshiah, and, on several 
occasions, with Solomon b. Judah. 

2. We come at last to this Gaon. Writes Dr. Marmorstein : 
' In a fragment Adler there is a Selihah, beginning }>^S^ 11733 n73N, 
written in the year 1362 (=1051), when he was still alive (p. 14), 
and the years of his Gaonate were from 1025 till his death about 
1052/3 (p. iG)} Now this Selihah (it is a loose leaf in MS. Adler 
2804) has really the following beginning : nDbtr wm ['']ain S»^ (i) 
tttin. njD T'N fivJ^N •'S (3) nn'-^oi'N mn D^[-i]aN hrs^ (2) jiw 

'131 5♦^S<^I nPDJ n?3X (4). ' When our master Solomon Gaon died, 
Ephraim composed this Selihah in the middle of lyyar 1362 Sel.' 
(=1051 c. E.). The author of this elegy is most likely Ephraim 
b. Shemarya of Fustat. Further comments are needless. 

3. 'Solomon prevented the re-establishment of the dual 
authority of the Palestinian Gaonate' (pp. 14-15). This 
Dr. Marmorstein infers from a few lines cited from MS. Adler 
2804. This fragment (it is fol. 3) deals with a rival of Ephraim 
b. Shemarya in Fustat, and has nothing to do with a supposed 
opponent of the Gaon. The letter will be fully printed else- 
where. The following corrected readings of the lines cited by 
Dr. Marmorstein are given here. For UO^n ^3 read l^on ^3 ; 
for 1^'K [1n]3 read vbx ISDKl ; for pin nt }'K read ''Dim nt PN. 

npi^n[o ''^Jyn n'' i''p[ino us] ps npi^no^ dsi d^'de' de' e^p^db*. 

' The italics are mine. 


Dr. Marmorstein actually left us in the middle of a sentence. 
(On the same page, for 'JHTicn read •<in'?)Z>r\, the banker.) 

4. Writes Dr. Marmorstein (p. 16), 'We hear it very soon, 
already in Solomon's time, that people said : The former leaders 
always stood against the blood of their colleagues (T.-S., 13 J. 9'* 
vide now -R£/., LXVIII, p. 45).' I have only to refer to my 
remarks in this Review (vol. VII. 481), whence it is clear that 
Solomon b. Judah made these remarks himself about the spiritual 
leaders (a^cxn) '^ in Fustat, speaking also disparagingly of Elhanan 
(b. Shemarya). Dr. Marmorstein, who published this important 
letter in RE/., entirely failed to understand its drift. The whole 
fragment will be reprinted by me, as it has been carelessly edited. 
Compare the two versions in RE/., I. c, p. 46, 11. 18-24, and in 
this Review, p. 17, note 17. As for the latter, for B'llpn T-ya 1W 
njju' yik ij'ljN read .TJJiD' [d'h^x iJ'ni'K=] D*x iJ'N Clip "i^y3 nc'x, 
for x!h^ [Pncyyj] ns^Nn read [mni'K=] m»k novn -\z'^i. The 

meaning is. What can be done, the name is called (i. e. I bear the 
title Gaon), and it is impossible to reject what our God adorned 
(me) with.' These bitter words of the Gaon were due to the great 
pain the opponents of Ephraim b. Shemarj'a in Fustat caused 
him by their letters. They accused him of siding with Ephraim, 
though unworthy, because of his presents; and they even 
threatened to denounce Solomon to the government. The cor- 
responding lines read in the MS. (but cp. the version in RE/., 

I. c, 45, 11. 6-9 !), n'jju'' nuijcn (read W) by 'bv b^^2pb hvn an ixn o 
nnr [DipDn=] pon D''jjn anma iis'de^i '•int ^ tr-N ^nvnn '•a W 
T'ni[jn»] ]v^b *3 n»N*i nmraN tna vbv 3B"i vn dc x'sid i'3» inn 
DiT'^y Da nrj;ni> U'nnJN IISU' T'niSt5'»1. The whole epistle deals 
with a communal dispute in Fustat. And yet Dr. Marmorstein 
exclaims (p. 17), 'Is it not undeniably established* that the enemies 
wanted another man in Solomon's place, and had one ready ? ' 
Trying to find opposition against Solomon b. Judah's Gaonate 

* Both Elhanan the elder and his son Shemarya are called CNin , see 
'• C; 479 ; VIII, 344. 

^ Obviously alluding to Job 40. 10. Read therefore perhaps mVil. 
^ The italics are mine. 


where there is none, Dr. Marmorstein discovers (in this Review, 
vol. VI, 161-2) a poem in MS. Adler 3363. 7, from which he 
copies two lines, and adduces that * the dignity of Solomon b. 
Judah was fiercely attacked '. Now this fragment (it really covers 
fif. 8 a b and 9 a) is a copy of the well-known poem of Gabirol 
(another Solomon b. Judah !) in honour of his patron Yekutiel, 
already printed in Duke's HD^CT n''B', no. 8 (p. 13), in Sachs' r'nc, 
16-36, and in Brody's edition, Heft I, no. 3. Needless to say 
that in the line mini p nD^B* 'O pi HT Nin iD i^xcrn QNI, Gabirol 
speaks of himself ! 

5. On pp. 18-19 Dr. Marmorstein makes statements about 
the adversaries of Ephraim b. Shemarya, which he tries to support 
by quotations from fragments torn from their contexts and 
entirely misconstrued. In the first instance, what do the lines 
of T-S., 13 J. 15* (p. 18, note 22) mean? Solomon writes to 
Ephraim that prior to this letter he sent him a few lines (nnic) 
after the festivals in reply to his epistles. Therein Ephraim 
reported the doings of his opponent. That person held the 
diploma of Haber (^3^), given by the Jerusalem school, but not 
satisfied with it, he exchanged it for the title AUuf of the 
Babylonian academy. He accordingly 'despised the waters 
of Shiloah to drink the waters of the Euphrates '. Solomon, 
naturally, maintains that this man only lost thereby, since the 
Palestinian degree is higher. The academy of the Holy Land 
is the ' alma mater ' (dn), whereas the seat of learning in Babylon 
is a step-mother (ax ntTN). Several other fragments (to be fM-inted 
elsewhere) deal with this scholar in Fustat who changed his 
allegiance to the former school for the latter. The title AUuf, 
it can be stated with certainty, was never bestowed by the 
academy of Palestine, and has nothing to do with ' the history 
of the organization of the Palestinian Geonim' (p. 18). In 
note 22 for [P'jTi' read T'i', for HNISD read nsvc, for -ino '>ni'3^ 
read QnD CID Ttb^b. 

But a typical example is the following. Writes Dr. Marmorstein 
(p. 19), 'Furthermore, we see that he (i.e. Solomon b. Judah) 
asked a man, perhaps the lay head of the community in the Diaspora 


or in Palestine, Saadya h. Israel, during his stay in Egypt^ to 
support Ephraim with the royal authorities'. As evidence we 
have (note 23) the second half of T.-S., 13 J. 17". The first 
half Dr. Marmorstein did not copy. But it is just there that the 
name Sa'adya b. Israel occurs. The correct text of the whole 
fragment deserves to be given here. 

[T.-S., 13 J. 17", paper, square writing, size 24-4 X 17-8 cm.] 


[ni]33 13s['']k'31 '\hr\v\ wainx nx 

[irjisi) ps 13 '•' Dj? riN suDi n'xid [»]3ai' nvn v^n ti^^rh 
irnuu nann fp[n]' [n]33i nxm n^y[Di>] •'isn ^xnc" pxn 
WJpr [dv man] nrn ovai isi' [nanjn S^ nunaa 5 
[njp'n i333n jprn innyo Nm[i Nnjo nc'np iu3 
D'i'snTa nn nro" 'iryn Dnom nnia nnyn 
i'NiK'' '31 'no p r^N X3 bi* nnn[i'] nina [i]nu ie'n 
n'3 ipr^ wni'Di wnE> rmn ^x ainsi) iJffjn « nn 
[stj'] N'B'ji' 'n3nK oynin^ ^xntr* n[']3 mxani h\!trw ro 
pm: nvn 01 nl^yo bi) 'int Kin oi in3''E«i' 'niNni 
csn p:s^ ir^sN sin] nvn^ nvn 'jni i3np onyiDn •'ci 
[p]rn^ Jjx-njjir nia^on p 3n3 icy nv'K' '3iini t\-j^ 
Dii'E'3 S3' iDipD h^ oyn bi 3nn nrnnoD it" ns 
ijiy niy^no nac'^ naipr ppi non T'3 svk' 'Jivn ^ai 15 
'3i'3B' no b Sinai) nSa' psi nNoij 'oy 3N3 ui) o 
inn T y'yi onsnn b VJa^ nin' \-\v on'' ws['B']ji 
lis nDn3 m"' Sim onvco ins^vu 3n3 ntf^-h ' nav» 
[^s]ie" n's msan ;nsn nsn ny3i ny3 •'ni'[a]n yoe*'' 
'3''y3 3ie ^yif\ \r\ Ds-xoni' nnae^n i>3i Dnmoni 20 
. . [i]s» [hv i]niDni ni33 Dii'E'i iDi^cn oisi o'ni's 
jj mm' ^3 nanjn no^K- 

5 The italics are mine. « Read nCiyn. 

' Read Wn^JDI, our leader; for this word see JQR., N. S., IX, p. 158, 
note 141. ' Cp. I Sam. 4. 3. 


We learn from this letter several details of interest. In the 
first instance we see that Daniel b. 'Azarya was not the first Nasi 
in the Holy Land, but that already in Solomon's time a descendant 
of David settled there. (This Nasi is indeed mentioned in some 
other epistles of the Gaon.) Unfortunately his name is not 
preserved in our fragment, of which the beginning is missing. 
Solomon writes that he is very pleased that the Nasi intends 
leaving Egypt for Palestine, where he will be the leader of the 
people. The Gaon has already written to the Haber (probably 
Ephraim b. Shemarya) setting forth how the division of authority 
(in Jerusalem) was to be arranged so that no friction arise between 
himself and the newcomer. (Our fragment is not written to 
Ephraim but to some other person in Fustat, very likely Sahlan 
b. Abraham, because in 1. 21 greetings are sent to the corre- 
spondent and his son. In the numerous letters to Ephraim 
there is never mentioned a son of his, only a son-in-law, Joseph 
by name.) The Gaon continues : I have spoken to-day (in 
Jerusalem) to the important elder, Sa'adya b. Israel, to write 
to 'our lord and leader, the elder and the glory of the house 
of Israel ', informing him of my love for the Nasi, and my desire 
for his settling here. He deserves all honour. The time is 
pressing because the festivals are at hand, and I want him to be 
with us (in Jerusalem) before New Year. Let him obtain letters 
patent from the (central) government to be able to act here with 
authority, and put an end to the rampant strife of which the 
Gaon bad enough. ' Our Nasi will tell him (i. e. this great 
dignitary) all the details.' (It seems that the Nasi had already 
visited the Holy City, and was well acquainted with the local state 
of affairs.) I am anxiously expecting a letter reporting his (the 
Nasi's) departure from Egypt. ' He (this dignitary) will do it in 
his kindness' (i.e. obtain from the government in Cairo (Fustat) 
a decree of authority for the Nasi). May God hear my prayers 
for him, for (his) brother, ' the glory of the house of Israel ', and 
their noble family. Let me state that these two brothers are 
the above-mentioned Abu Sa'ad and Abu Nasr, who were the 
very people to obtain from the Caliph all the political power 


required by the Nasi for his new regime in Jerusalem. This 
is the plain and obvious meaning of our fragment. What ground, 
then, had Dr. Marmorstein for his statement quoted above ? 

6. Dr. Marmorstein has found in several Genizah fragments 
(pp. 20 ff.) references to the formidable revolution in Palestine 
and Syria (1024-29) against the Caliph az-Zahir. It should be 
stated at once that one leader of the rebels, Hasan, was not of 
the Banu Gariah, as Dr. Marmorstein prints, but of the Banu 
Jarrah (^C*, see Becker, Beitrage z. Gesch. Agyptens unter d. Islam, 
I, pp. 44 ff.). Furthermore, the Resh Kalla Sahlan b. Abraham 
resided not in Kairowan but in Fustat, as is clear from numerous 
fragments (see also my remarks in JQR., N. S., IX, p. 161 ; the 
residence of Sahlan's father, Abraham, in Fustat is also evident 
from the Arabic address, JQR., XIX, 726, no. 11). But Dr. 
Marmorstein has discovered in T.-S., 13 J. 13'' that Jews in 
Damascus were imprisoned for taking part in the rebellion. 
Accordingly Solomon b. Judah (to wit, in Jerusalem) writes to 
Suhlan b. Abraham (in Kairowan (!), according to Dr. Marmorstein) 
to inspire 'the Resh Kalla to take steps with the authorities on 
behalf of the Jewish prisoners in Damascus' (pp. 20-21). What 
a play with geography ! To release prisoners in Damascus 
naturally the central Fatimid government in Cairo had to be 
approached. What help could the Gaon in Jerusalem hope to 
obtain for them from the intervention with the authorities (in 
Kairowan !) by the local Resh Kalla ? But the letter was addressed 
to Fustat, and has nothing to do with the rebellion. 

Before briefly indicating its drift, I give the following corrected 
readings. The fragment is of paper, square writing, size 25-5 x 
1 7-4 cm., badly preserved, torn at the bottom of the left-hand side. 
Its beginning is intact. Hence the dots by Dr. Marmorstein 
(note 30, before 1. i) should be deleted. In 1. 2 for nn» ^x read 

T'T' ijN, (1. 3) for inprnni read ijprnni, (1. 6) for Mi>ni . . . ihIje': pi 

read [uj^ni Dn[''V] \rhm ;ni, for pUT-:! read pin31, (1. 9) for 
nnii)N [n^]^ O read Qn^ fnJ^t^L^J '3, for 'Ntpi'N read TNtpi'X, (1. lo) 
for "a read '>'3, (1. ii) omit the second px, for nijin read 

[i]ni5iTa, (1. 12) for •>SD pwsn read 'sD [mn] pn^an, for *£)i>ac?ji 


... no read [nxisB'] no ia^ y&i^, (1. 13) for unn read [njian, 
for '131 "h N3 ''IS read '31 liij* [^y] niy i^r '•''' fiD» *D w <1N, (1. 14) 

for nipj'read [ni]pj[l], for 13S only T.N can be read, for unijjl 
O'lpD read [D'ljpo l[J'"ni], (1. 15) for ani.lD read 3=f-it5, for fptn 
read )n[3n], (1. 16) for ntoia^lix read nsaa^N. UN, for 31 .noi 
read 31 [|]oi, for ^vshnN 3ip3m read ^iai'N 13X 3ip:n, for -16>'N3 
read ncM, (1. 17) for (? nsj!) ^N *»''^ini only .... ''33''i>[l]ni can 
be safely read, (1. i8) for (nvinn) supply [picn bt(] to fill up the 
space, for 'niJ read m3, for ^31X read ^31N, (1. 19) for xn[p.] ^'•I'in 
read i<-\['<r\i p^i]'in, for [nojiy read Dn^JC, (1. 20) for . . .^*3^^ n^ini 
read [" ''i]sh nh[nj], for 1X3 .. . Q^sDinn read nit<3 [njni] D'NDnn, 
for D^D...^ read Q''[as]03, for 3in3 eix read flKI, (1. 21) for 
DN1 read D51, for ntn (nn3) read nbn[p]n3, (1. 22) after lisoi'l 
supply [-^V2], for na^-i ms pss read [njsn t^'N pN3, (1. 23) for 
xnn read m^l, for '31 (?) DniN DC t6 read D' . . U . . . . niN 130'' »b, 
(1. 24) for S13' t6 (?) DniT't}' read 1N13['] t6 Dni'SC, (1. 25) for 

.... D''3n3 i3n3' read T . . . a- ni3n n^sai . , . Dun3 [i3]n3\ (1. 26) 
for ...1313 read . . . [^]^1v nn'nn n^K[n D''n3]n3, (1. 27) for 
Tiyccn read isj-'OBTi, (1. 28) for »notr n33i read ''nn[j njsai, (1. 29) 
for prnnnb read pinr\rh\ for nojj' read niDST, (1. 30) the first bn 
is vocalized i'N, for D33^ read DmJ?, (1. 31) for (?)tt>n N^l n^i'E' 
read [nn"']n ab) rh''b&, (l. 32) for 13K1 .... read IJX i[3'']ni'[N] '"S, 
after bsb several letters are missing, (1. 33) for ^31 ... D DI^CI plV 
read 1)31 'n[a]-lDO m^en, for ybnp read ^i'^p, for TUiySI read 
"nuiiysi, for ni read ''n\ (1. 34) read ein'DD ['']»B>0 3in3^ bn^H 
[nynn]. The margin reads as follows:'" ;5fD^ | nnini' mVD | N'VVI 

N^i 1 DHD nns nt< | 'niy-\n t6 •'3 | nvn [i]nn3 []]i'pb'\ | lotr 
I [']nvp laobl'i] I "ijy jonji 1 ny Nini iai3 | innp^ t6 dji | 'nmun 
3-1 [n]oi n3nn ''c[''] | 3-1 •io ^x ['n3n3] | n33i •'nn | nopoi '<n3 
I'Ni 1 w insn D'nax | 3-1 id -i3nn ^jn | [D]''3n3D lonp | na i^Ninc 

' ^IDD is an uncle from the maternal side in contrast to HH. Sec, e.g. , 
Ibn Ezra to Amos 6. lo : lanDOl lUN TIN nn »3 nON B"«-lip p miiT 'll 
TON *nN. Sahlan's maternal uncle was a scholar by name Sa'adya b. 
Ephraim, as will be shown elsewhere. 

'" The perpendicular strokes indicate the lines of the margin. 


no bi<\ [■w] I 3py» an no | ■^••m [bn)] \ bnpn mt-i nB[''] | 2-\ no 
I n'-fi^/^n I nm [ojanvi | nans -v/tv I mpon in* | lannnn i>N3n3 1 an 
.... riD^B' I ch^ apyi | iB>yn nB'x | ^jaa D3n''^v*i. In the addition 

between 11. 27-8 read Dnann after pi. So much for the 
correctness of Dr. Marmorstein's copy ! 

As regards the subject-matter of the letter, it deals with 
a communal dispute between Rabbinites and Karaites. (Several 
other fragments have a bearing on this episode. They will be 
printed in another connexion.) The latter used to be under the 
jurisdiction of the former. But in 1024 the Caliph issued a decree 
that independence in religious matters be granted to each sect. 
The commander-in-chief in Syria was ordered to carry out this 
edict also in his province. From 1024-9 affairs were chaotic 
there owing to the rebellion, and this Act of Tolerance could not 
be carried out. But with the restoration of order it began to take 
effect. (This is a summary of my construction of the data to be 
given elsewhere.) Now certain scholars of the Palestine school 
(D''n3n, Dr. Marmorstein translates 'partners'!) seem to have 
contravened in Ramlah this Government Act, were arrested and 
taken to Damascus, where the commander-in-chief ad-Dizbiri 
probably resided then. 'Adi b. Menasse (b. al-ICzaz) was an 
important Jewish Katib in this city. No doubt acting in an 
official capacity, he informed the prisoners that they would be 
released on condition that they took an oath by God and the 
Caliph no more to use the title Haber, and never again to hold 
any communal office in Palestine. The Karaites came in with 
other demands that a separate shop be assigned to them in the 
Jewish bazaar where meat be sold to them which was not 
examined in the Rabbinic way (npna), that they should be 
allowed to trade on the festival days fixed by the Rabbinites, 
and other instances. Solomon b. Judah writes to Sahlan to 
obtain influential support in Fustat (Cairo) for the cause of the 
Rabbinites j let the central government be induced to send 
word to Ramlah and Damascus in their favour. The Gaon 
energetically appealed to other influential Jews in Fustat. It 
should be added that ultimately the Rabbinites had the better 
VOL. IX. E e 


of their opponents. The whole subject cannot be fully discussed 
here. But one thing is beyond doubt, that our letter has no 
bearing whatever on the rebellion of io24-'9. 

But, writes Dr. Marmorstein (p. 23), ' If there were the slightest 
doubt about the dating of the letters, one other fragment shows 
undeniably " that the revolution took place in the time of Solomon, 
and furthermore that it had a very sad influence on the Jews in 
those countries '. Nobody denies this. There are some Genizah 
fragments which tell us a good deal about the terrible sufferings 
of the Jews in Jerusalem and Ramlah during the rebellion. 
But the fragment T.-S., 13 J. 20^®, which Dr. Marmorstein 
adduces as evidence (note 32), has nothing whatever to do with 
this crisis. He has discovered therein a tribal prince ptT'SN |3 *pl' 
and also the Banu Guriah (ni1*3J *33). Thus by some strange way 
of transliteration the Banu Jarrah (above, p. 417) become in MS. 
Banu Gariah, Banu Guriah, mvaj i33. But the MS. reads (1. 15) 
mSDJ ''jn (vocalized in the original !). Thus : ' .... a letter from 
Mukhtar the Arab, and he said that my son Jabarah sent ' ! 
(Another fragment has expressly isnao \1 mSDJ.) As for the 
' prince ' V2\ had Dr. Marmorstein considered the letter, dated 
Kislev (i) 340 Sel. (=1028), from Alexandria to Ephraim b. She- 
niarya {JQM., XIX, 25o-4),he would have found that the 'noble' 
''P3'' plied the honourable trade of slave-dealer. His relatives and 
trade-fellows were Mukhtar (mentioned '\n JQR., I. c, and in our 
fragment, 1. i) and his son Jabarah. Saracen pirates infested 
in those days the eastern Mediterranean, and boatloads of 
captives from Byzantium were landed at the Egyptian ports, 
chiefly Alexandria. Several other Genizah fragments of this time 
mention Jewish captives from Byzantium whom their Egyptian 
co-religionists had to ransom. And our letter here is one of 
these fragments. It probably does not emanate from Alexandria, 
where the most representative Jew then was Netaneel Hakkoben 
b. El'azar, but from some other Egyptian port, probably Damietta. 
An elder, Nathan Hakkohen, negotiates with the captors about 
the ransom of the Jews. Some of the captives were also sent 
1' The italics are mine. 


to Barkah (1. 16), farther west on the North- African coast. (There 
is no ground whatever for identifying this Nathan Hakkohen with 
a Nathan nsnn (no Kohen!) in Fustat, mentioned in Solomon 
b. Juda's letter to Ephraim b. Shemarya, Saadyana, XLI, as 
Dr. Marmorstein does.) 

In conclusion, the following corrected readings of the fragment 
are given here. It is torn across the whole right-hand side. 
Thus dots, indicating missing letters, should be placed at the 
beginning of each line. The length of a whole line can be 
estimated from 1. 1 1. In 1. r for nnplb read nnp 1'?, for pn13^5 
read pn^^N, (1. 3) for D'",:j?1 read D''irj?1, (1. 4) for n[? 2nn] supply 
[E'p33l], for PUjyi read nuv\ (1. 6) for irai'm read "ii^bm, for DV 
read DV2, for ni"b read rh'h^, (1. 8) for n3B^ read m^, (L 9) 
for inpi» read inpi, for pb) read 13 ?J, (1. 10) for W3n3 read M3[k']i, 
(1. 12) before IJijpr^ read ir, for ''n' read <n», for BHipn read Wipn, 
(1. 13) for [Ojnb read rh^[n], (1. 15) for mV3J ''33 read n-|«3J ''33, 
(L 17) before nnN read t3, (1. 18) for . . . . n read [QnJnN, for 
r;KD3 read nKD3, for (PjmJETi read n31{5>n, (1. 19) for mi35) read 
D*ii3y, (1. 20) read Dnih[D] D[b''T'i} n''j% for a'«n3yn read an3yn, 
(1. 21) before DlUy read [l]rni'331, of 1. 22 only the last word 
[D]nvN is preserved. 

The moral of the above strictures is obvious. The facts speak 
for themselves. Needless to say, history — worthy of the name — 
cannot be reconstrued by such a method. 

Jacob Mann. 

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