Samuel ben hI?ofni Gaon and His Cultural World: Texts and Studies

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Samuel ben hūofni Gaon was head of the Yeshiva of Sura in Baghdad during the cultural renaissance which characterized the Buyid period. His writings reflect the impact of Arabic literature on Jewish intellectuals at this time.
The first part of this volume presents the known details of his life and extensive writings and describes the dynamics of contemporary, tenth-century Jewish culture: the decline and temporary restoration of the yeshivot and the intellectual activity outside of them. Additionally, some of the basic concepts of his thought, strongly influenced by Mu‘tazilite Kalām, are explained.
The book provides the Judeo-Arabic text and annotated English translation of two of his works on legal theory, his Treatise on the Commandments and Ten Questions, reconstructed from manuscript fragments from the Cairo Geniza.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Winner of the Ben-Zvi prize 1998.

'David Sklare has painted an arresting portrait of Samuel ben ḥofni and his cultural world; both subject and treatment should compel the attention of a wide scholarly audience.'
Daniel Frank, The Jewish Quarterly Review, 2001.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004103023
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/1996
  • Series: Etudes sur le judaisme medieval Series , #18
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

David E. Sklare, Ph.D. (1992) in Post-Biblical Jewish History and Hebrew Literature, Harvard University, is Senior Researcher of the Center for the Study of Judeo-Arabic Culture of the Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

Symbols and Method Used in Transcription and Translation
Bibliographical Abbreviations
Genealogical Table
1 Samuel ben Hofni Gaon: His Life and Works 1
2 Samuel ben Hofni and Arabic Culture: An Intellectual Portrait 37
3 The Yeshivot in Baghdad: Decline and Temporary Restoration 69
4 Jewish Culture Outside the Yeshivot 99
5 Central Concepts and Issues: Reason, Obligation, Universalism and Tradition 143
6 Treatise on the Commandments: Introduction and Annotated Translation 167
7 Ten Questions: Introduction and Annotated Translation 237
Bibliography 299
Indices 323
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