What texts did the bahtawi and aqhshti learn and teach the people? The early Italian maskil Samuel David Luzzatto (1800-65), whose interest in the matter was piqued by his son Filosseno (1829-54), posed this very question to a bahtawi named Abba Yitzhak, who in response compiled a list of 62 books sacred to Ethiopian Jews (others have a slightly higher count). The omission of rabbinic literature remains striking, but of further interest is the commingling of scriptural books that form part of the rabbinically authorized canon with those deemed “external books.” For Ethiopian Jews, some of the latter are considered especially sacred and beloved. Before turning to this literature, however, a few words must be said about its language and form.Besides the books of the Hebrew Bible, this literature includes the Book of Jubilees, the Book of Enoch, and a number of the Old Testament Apocrypha. They are written (translated into) the old Ethopic language Ge'ez.
For more on the Ethiopic Bible, see here and links.
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