Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Judeo-Arabic poetry in the Cairo Geniza

GENIZA FRAGMENT OF THE MONTH: Judaeo-Arabic Poetry in the Cairo Genizah: T-S Ar.37.127 (Mohamed A. H. Ahmed).
Unlike Hebrew liturgical poetry, Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic poetry in the Cairo Genizah is an area that has hitherto received very little attention. While many scholars have worked on the Hebrew poetry, with extensive collections collated in books and on websites,2 the Arabic material has been largely neglected. If mentioned at all in catalogues, labelling is mostly limited to ‘Arabic poetry’, without any further details, and the large majority of sources still await description.


Much of the Arabic poetry in the Cairo Genizah collection is written in Judaeo-Arabic. ...
Most of this material is a bit late for PaleoJudaica (the Fatimid era). But I do like to keep an eye on what is going on in the field of Judeo-Arabic.

Speaking of which, in March I finally finished working through the fragments of the Judeo-Arabic translation of Sefer HaRazim and incorporating their evidence into my notes. It was one of the most difficult philological projects I have ever taken on.

Regular readers may recall that I am translating the famous Hebrew Talumdic-era magical tractate Sefer Ha Razim, "The Book of the Mysteries," for MOTP2. The Judeo-Arabic is an early translation of the Hebrew and it is important for reconstructing the text. I am now working on the Latin translation. Yes, there was a Latin translation too. I don't know who made it, but Christian Kabbalists and magicians liked such thing in the Middle Ages and beyond.

Past PaleoJudaica posts on Judeo-Arabic are collected here. Past posts involving Sefer HaRazim are here and links. Other past posts noting Cairo Geniza Fragments of the Month in the Cambridge University Library's Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit are here and links.

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