תרומתו של ישועה בן יהודה למחקר המכילתא דר' שמעון בן יוחי ולשונה

Translated title of the contribution: Yeshua ben Yehuda’s Contribution to the Study of the Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai and its Language

מנחם כהנא, עפרה תירוש-בקר

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Yeshua ben Yehuda, a Jerusalem Karaite scholar of the eleventh century, included many quotations from rabbinic literature in his Judeo-Arabic commentaries on the Torah. While most of these quotations are drawn from well-known compositions, some were quoted from treatises that are no longer extant, first and foremost Sifre Zuṭa on Deuteronomy. In this paper we focus on Yeshua’s quotations from the Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai (Mekhilta de-Rashbi), for which we do not have complete documentation, and we discuss the contribution of these quotations to the study of this Mekhilta and its language.Portions of Yeshua’s short and long commentaries on Exodus were preserved in many manuscripts. For this project we studied about forty-five manuscripts of Yeshua’s commentaries, many of which were fragmentary with pages incorrectly ordered. In twenty-one of these manuscripts, we found a total of sixty-three quotations from the Mekhilta de-Rashbi. Two editions of the Mekhilta de-Rashbi have been published so far. David Zvi Hoffmann’s1905 edition was based mainly on Midrash Hagadol, while Jacob Nahum Epstein and Ezra Zion Melamed’s 1955 edition was based to a large extent on Geniza fragments. Further differences between the two editions are due to Hoffmann’s tendency to include sections from Midrash Hagadol whose origin could in fact be the Mishna or the Talmud, while Melamed refrained from doing so. Now, on the basis of the quotations preserved in Yeshuaben Yehuda’s writings, we can confirm that Hoffmann’s approach was sometimes correct.For example, in his edition Melamed did not include the many homilies on the Sabbath in the Mekhilta de-Rashbi commentary on Torah sections ki-tissa – vayaqhel, as he attributed them to the Mekhilta of Rabbi Yishmael. Now, however, we can establish that they are indeed an integral part of the Mekhilta de-Rashbi as surmised by Hoffmann.
Translated title of the contributionYeshua ben Yehuda’s Contribution to the Study of the Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai and its Language
Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)581-647
Number of pages67
Journalתרביץ: רבעון למדעי היהדות
Volume89
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

IHP publications

  • IHP publications
  • Bible -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • Bible -- Exodus
  • Criticism, Textual
  • Judeo-Arabic language
  • Mekhilta of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai
  • Midrash ha-gadol

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