• Principal Investigators
    Camilla Adang

    Camilla Adang

    Principal Investigator
    Tel Aviv

    Camilla Adang is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Tel Aviv University, where she teaches classical Islamic thought. She studied Languages and Cultures of the Middle East and Spanish at Catholic University Nijmegen, The Netherlands (now Radboud University Nijmegen), where she also defended her PhD thesis entitled Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible: From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm, a revised version of which was published in 1996 by Brill. She has held research fellowships in Madrid, Jerusalem, Leiden, Wassenaar and Göttingen and has published widely on social and intellectual (including polemical) encounters between Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages and the Ottoman period, as well as on the controversial legal scholar and theologian Ibn Ḥazm of Cordoba. She is one of the editors of the two Brill series, Studies on the Children of Abraham and Biblia Arabica: Texts and Studies and serves on the editorial or advisory boards of various other book series and scientific journals.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible: From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm (Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Science, 22); Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996.
    — ‘A Jewish Reply to Ibn Ḥazm: Solomon b. Adret’s Polemic against Islam’, in: Maribel Fierro (ed.), Judíos y musulmanes en al-Andalus y el Magreb: Contactos intelectuales. Madrid: Casa de Velázquez, 2002, pp. 179-209.
    — ‘The Chronology of the Israelites according to Ḥamza al-Iṣfahānī’, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 32 (2006), pp. 286-310.
    — ‘Biblical predictions of Muḥammad in al-Munqidh min al-taqlīd by the Imāmī Muʿtazilī Sadīd al-Dīn al-Ḥimmasī al-Rāzī (d. after 600/1204)’, in: C. Adang, S. Schmidtke & D. Sklare (eds.), A Common Rationality: Muʿtazilism in Islam and Judaism; Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2007, pp. 297-330.
    — ‘A Polemic against Judaism by a Convert to Islam from the Ottoman Period: Risālat Ilzām al-Yahūd fīmā zaʿamū fī l-Tawrāt min qibal ʿilm al-kalām’, Journal Asiatique 297.1 (2009), pp. 131-151.
    — ‘Guided to Islam by the Torah: The Risāla al-Hādiya by ʿAbd al-Salām al-Muhtadī al-Muḥammadī’, in: C. Adang and S. Schmidtke (eds.), Contacts and Controversies between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Pre-Modern Iran. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2010, pp. 57-71.
    — ‘Intra- and interreligious controversies in 3rd/9th century Qayrawān: The polemics of Ibn Saḥnūn’, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 36 (2009), pp. 281-309 (published 2011).

    Most of these and various other publications can be accessed via https://telaviv.academia.edu/CamillaAdang.

    Andreas Kaplony

    Andreas Kaplony

    Principal Investigator
    Munich

    Andreas Kaplony is Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, LMU Munich (www.naher-osten.lmu.de). He has published widely on Arab-Islamic history, including Umayyad-Byzantine diplomacy (1996), Muslim, Jewish and Christian pre-crusade conceptions of the Ḥaram of Jerusalem (2002), pre-Mongol Arabic and Persian geography and cartography of Central Asia (2008) and 13th century Arabic business letters from the Red Sea (2014). He serves as a managing director of the Arabic Papyrology Database and the Archive of Arabic Talk shows.

    Meira Polliack

    Meira Polliack

    Principal Investigator
    Tel Aviv

    Meira Polliack is Professor of Bible at the Department of Biblical Studies, Tel Aviv University. She received her BA cum laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1988), and MPhil (1989) and PhD (1993) from Cambridge University, England. Her professional experience includes a research assistantship at the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library (1992-5); Lady Davis post-doctoral fellowship, Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1995-6) and the Alon Fellowship Lectureship, Department of Bible, Tel Aviv University (1996-9). Polliack served as head of the Bible Program at the Department of Hebrew Culture Studies, Tel Aviv University, and Chair of the Teaching Committee of the D Department of Biblical Studies, Tel Aviv University (2006-9). She was Jacob and Hilda Blaustein visiting professor of Judaic Studies at Yale University (2009-10), and was head of the Interdisciplinary Program in Jewish Studies at the Department of Biblical Studies, Tel Aviv University (2010-13). She was chair of the Teaching Committee of the Faculty of Humanities, Tel Aviv University (2011-2014). Since 2008 she is the senior academic coordinator of the research project on the culture of Jews of the medieval Islamic world at the Center for Diaspora Research, Tel Aviv University.

    Polliack’s Research Interests are Medieval Bible translation and exegesis; modern literary approaches to the Bible; Judaeo-Arabic literature; Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic sources in the Cairo Genizah; intellectual and cultural history of the Jews in the medieval Islamic world; historical development of biblical hermeneutics and notions of biblical narrative.

    Select Publications
    The Karaite Tradition of Arabic Bible Translation: A Linguistic and Exegetical Study of the Karaite Translations of the Pentateuch from the Tenth to the Eleventh (Leiden: Brill, 1997). http://www.brill.com/karaite-tradition-arabic-bible-translation.
    Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic Manuscripts in the Cambridge Genizah Collections, Arabic Old Series (T-S ar.1a-54) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001 [with C.F. Baker]). http://www.cambridge.org/il/academic/subjects/religion/judaism/arabic-and-judaeo-arabic-manuscripts-cambridge-genizah-collections-arabic-old-series-t-s-ar1a-54.
    — (Ed.) Karaite Judaism: A Guide to its History and Literary Sources (Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2003. http://www.brill.com/karaite-judaism.
    — (With Eliezer Schlossberg.) ‘Historical-literary, Rhetorical and Redactional Methods of Interpretation in Yefet ben Eli’s Introduction to the Minor Prophets’. In Exegesis and Grammar in Medieval Karaite Texts (ed. Geoffrey Khan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 1-39. http://global.oup.com/academic/product/exegesis-and-grammar-in-medieval-karaite-texts-9780198510659?lang=en&cc=us#.
    — ‘Arabic Bible Translations in the Cairo Genizah Collections’, in Jewish Studies in a New Europe (ed. Ulf Haxen et al. Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel A/S International Publishers, 1998, pp. 595-620.
    — ‘Bible Translations: Judeo-Arabic (Ninth to the Thirteenth Centuries), in Encyclopedia of the Jews of the Islamic World, Volume One (ed. Norman A. Stillman. Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2010), pp. 464-469. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-jews-in-the-islamic-world/bible-translations-SIM_000115.
    — with Ilana Sasson: ‘The Book of the Law in the House of the Lord is a Copy (‘nuskha’) Written by Moses: Yefet ben Eli’s Commentary on 2 Kings 22:1-23:3’, Ginzei Qedem 10 (2014): 157-190.
    — with Marzena Zawanowska: “‘God Would not Give the Land, but to the Obedient’: Medieval Karaite Responses to the Curse of Canaan (Genesis 9:25)”, in The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought, from Antiquity to the Modern Period, eds. K. Berthelot, J. E. David and M. Hirshman, Oxford:Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 112–152.
    — With Sivan Nir: “Many Beautiful Meanings can be Drawn from such a Comparison”: On the Medieval Interaction View of Biblical Metaphor in Exegesis and Poetry in Medieval Karaite and Rabbanite Texts, Karaite Texts and Studies Volume 9. ed. J. Yeshaya and E. Hollender. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2016,forthcoming), pp. 51-100.
    — “Biblical Narrative and the Textualization of Oral Tradition: Innovations in Medieval Judaeo-Arabic Biblical Exegesis,” in A.A. Hussein and A. Oettinger (eds.), Ben ‘Ever la-‘Arav, Contacts between Arabic Literature and Jewish literature in the Middle Ages and Modern Times,Vol. VI, A Collection of Studies dedicated to Prof. Yosi Tobi on the Occasion of His Retirement (Haifa: The University of Haifa, 2014), 109-152 [in Hebrew].
    — “On the ‘Literal Sense’ in Medieval Jewish Exegesis and Daniel Al-Qumisi’s Contribution to the Semanitc Study of the Hebrew Bible” in M. Avioz, E. Assis and Y. Shemesh (eds.), Zer Rimonim: Studies in Biblical Literature and Jewish Exegesis Presented to Professor Rmon Kasher (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature), 2013, pp. 390-415 [in Hebrew].
    — “Semantics of Hebrew in Medieval Arabic Bible Translation and Interpretation”, in: Geoffrey Khan et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics (EHLL), Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2013, 1-10.
    — “The Unseen Joints of the Text’: On the Medieval Judaeo-Arabic Concept of Elision (Ikhtiṣār) and its Gap-filling Functions in Biblical Interpretation” in: A. Brenner and F. H. Polak (eds.), Words, Ideas, Worlds in the Hebrew Bible – The Yairah Amit Festschrift , Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2012, 179-205.
    — “Concepts of Scripture among the Jews of the Islamic World” in: Benjamin D. Sommer (ed.), Jewish Concepts of Scripture, A Comparative Introduction, New York: New York University Press, 2012, 80-101.

    Editorial Work

    From 2006 – Section Editor (Medieval Arabic Speaking World), Encyclopedia of the Jews in the Islamic World (Executive editor: Norman A. Stillman. Brill). www.brill.nl/ejiw.
    From 2007—General Editor (with Michael G. Wechsler) of the Series Karaite Texts and Studies, in association with the series Études sur le judaïsme médiéval (editor: Paul Fenton, Brill).
    From 2012 — Area Editor (Arabic Translations) of The Handbook of the Textual History of the Bible (general editors: Armin Lange, Emmanuel Tov. Brill).

    Ronny Vollandt

    Ronny Vollandt

    Principal Investigator
    Munich

    Ronny Vollandt (PhD, Cambridge), who was recently appointed Professor of Judaic Studies at LMU, originally joined the project in 2013 as a Postdoc Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin. His research focuses not only on Arabic translations of the Bible by Jews and Christians, but also on exegetical works in Arabic. At present he is working on a monograph on Sa‘adya Gaon’s Judaeo-Arabic Pentateuch translation. Within the Biblia Arabica project, Vollandt’s responsibilities include the charting, description, and analysis of Christian-Arabic translation traditions of the Bible. Moreover, he is preparing a comprehensive bibliography of studies on the Bible in Arabic, which will be an indispensable tool for current and future scholars working in this field.

    Photo Credit: LMU, Munich

    Select Publications
    Books

    Orientalische Bibelhandschriften aus der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK / Oriental Bible Manuscripts from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2016).

    Articles

    — “An unknown medieval Coptic Hebraism? On a momentous junction of Jewish and Coptic biblical studies”, inCanonical Texts and Scholarly Practices: A
    Global Comparative Approach
    , A. Grafton and G. Most (eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, forthcoming).
    — “Translations as linguistic commentaries? On the exegetical dimension of early Bible translations into Judaeo-Arabic”, in Commentary Cultures: Technologies of Medieval Reading, Philological Encounters 2, I. Dayeh (ed.), (2016, forthcoming).
    — “The Conundrum of Scriptural Plurality: The Arabic Bible, Polyglots, and Medieval Predecessors of Biblical Criticism”, in Editing the Hebrew Bible in the Variety of its Texts and Versions, Armin Lange, Andres Piquer, Pablo A. Torijano and Julio Trebolle Barrera (eds.) (Leiden: Brill, 2016).
    — “Making quires speak. An analysis of Arabic multi-block Bibles and the Creation of a Canon“, Intellectual History of the
    Islamicate World 4
    (2016): 173–209.
    — Coptic Hebraists in The Middle Ages? On the Transmission of Rav Saʿadiah Gaon’s Tafsīr. Tarbiz  83 (1/2) (2015): 71-86 [in Hebrew].
    — علم التأريخ اليهوديّ في ما بعد الزمن الكتابيّ. “كتاب يوسف ابن كُريون” بصيغته العربية وصداه في الأوساط اليهوديّة والمسيحيّة  , al-Machriq 89 (2015): 249-267.
    — ‘From the Desks of a Coptic-Muslim Workshop: Paris, BNF, MS Ar. 1 and the Large-scale Production of Luxurious Arabic Bibles in Early Ottoman Cairo’, in Patronage, Production, and Transmission of Texts in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Cultures, eds. E. Alfonso and J. Decter, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014, pp. 231-265.
    — ‘Ancient Jewish historiography in Arabic garb: Sefer Josippon between South Italy and Coptic Cairo’, Zutot 11 (2014): 70-80.
    — ‘Whether to capture form or meaning: A typology of early Judaeo-Arabic Pentateuch translations’, in A Universal Art. Hebrew Grammar across Disciplines and Faiths, eds. N. Vidro, I. Zweip and J. Olszowy-Schlanger, Leiden: Brill, 2014, pp. 58-83.
    — “The Arabic Pentateuch of the Paris Polyglot: Saadiah Gaon’s advent to the republic of letters,” in Linguistic and Cultural Aspects of Arabic Bible Translations, ed. S. Binay and St. Leder (Beiruter Texte und Studien No. 131, Beirut:Orient Institut Beirut, 2012): 19-35.
    — “1.1.5. Biblia judia en arabe. Localizacion: Madrid, BNE, MS 5475”, in Biblias deSefarad: Vidas cruzadas del texto y sus lectores, ed. Javier del Barco, Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espana, 2012.
    — with Miriam Lindgren: ‘An Early Copy of the Pentateuch and the Book of Daniel in Arabic (MS Sinai—Arabic 2):
    Preliminary Observations on Codicology, Text Types, and Translation Technique’, IHIW 1 (2013): 43-68.
    — with Miriam Lindgren: “Arabic versions, secondary, five scrolls,” in The textual History of the Bible, vol. 1. Edited by A. Lange (general editor); E. Tov (volume editor); M. Polliack (area editor), Leiden: Brill, 2016.
    — with Miriam Lindgren: “An Early Copy of the Pentateuch and the Book of Daniel in Arabic (MS Sinai—Arabic 2): Preliminary Observations on Codicology, Text Types, and Translation Technique,” Intellectual History of the Islamicate World 1 (2013), pp. 43-68.
    — ‘Some Historiographical Remarks on Medieval and Early-Modern Scholarship of Biblical Versions in Arabic: A Status Quo’, IHIW 1 (2013): 25-42.
    — ‘Che portono al ritorno quì una Bibbia Arabica integra: A history of the Biblia Sacra Arabica (1671–73)’, in Græco-latina et orientalia. Studia in honorem Angeli Urbani Heptagenarii, eds. J.P. Monferrer-Sala and S. Kh. Samir, Beirut: CEDRAC, 2013, pp. 401-418.

    Forthcoming Articles

    — ‘Jewish literature in the Arabic language’. in Rethinking the Diaspora: Jewish Minorities in the Past, Present and Future, eds. V. Lepper and S. Koller, forthcoming 2015.
    — ‘Translations as linguistic commentaries? On the exegetical dimension of early Bible translations into Judaeo-Arabic’. in Commentary Cultures: Technologies of Medieval Reading, Philological Encounters 2, I. Dayeh (ed.), forthcoming 2015.
    — ‘Une Historiographie juive post biblique: Le Sefer Josippon en langue arabe, sa réception parmi les chrétiens et les musulmans’. in: Revue des Études Juives (forthcoming 2015).
    — ‘More on Christian books in Jewish libraries: Biblical translations into Christian-Arabic preserved in the Cairo Genizah collections’. in The Semitic Languages of Jewish Intellectual Production, eds. M. Angeles Gallego and J. P. Monferrer-Sala. Leiden, New York: Brill, forthcoming.
    — ‘An unknown medieval Coptic Hebraism? On a momentous junction of Jewish and Coptic biblical studies’. in Canonical Texts and Scholarly Practices: A Global Comparative Approach, eds. A. Grafton and G. Most,  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

  • Research Associates and Post-Doctoral Researchers
    Amir Ashur

    Amir Ashur

    Research Associate

    Dr. Amir Ashur received his PhD in the Rosenberg School of Jewish Studies at Tel Aviv University (2006). His doctoral dissertation topic was ‘Engagement and Betrothal Documents from the Cairo Geniza’ under the supervision of Prof. M.A. Friedman from Tel Aviv University.

    Dr. Ashur’s research focuses on the ‘documentary Geniza’ – letters, legal documents and other documents that represent the daily life of the Geniza world. Being a former student of Prof. M.A. Friedman, he continues working with him on various projects relating to Geniza research, among them the celebrated ‘india Book’.

    In the DIP project, Dr. Ashur will serve as an expert for identifying scribes, whenever it will be possible, and will examine the use of Biblical quotations in letters and other documentary materials, in order to determine the popularity of Biblical books in different times and places. For more details of his scholarly activities, see his site.

    Meir Bar-Maymon

    Meir Bar-Maymon

    Post-Doctoral Fellow
    Tel Aviv

    Dr. Meir Bar-Maymon has a BA and MA degrees in Biblical Studies from Tel Aviv University (2009, 2011). His Master’s thesis is on masculinization and de-masculinization processes in the Book of Judges. His PhD dissertation (2015), “Mythologies of Masculinities and the Search of the [Male] Israelite Self in the Book of Ezekiel”, was written at Tel Aviv University and the Sciences Po Paris, under the supervision of Prof. Athalya Brenner-Idan and Dr. Michael Mach.

    He approaches the Hebrew Bible through the prism of cultural studies, political theology and post-structuralism, with emphasis on the construction of the subject and the relations to his/her sovereign.

    In the DIP project, Bar Maymon intends to work on Sa‘adia Gaon’s translation to the Book of Job, and to study the links between Sa‘adia’s translation and his theology. Bar Maymon’s main premise is that Jewish perception of self-subjectivity underwent a profound change as a response to Islamic challenges. Such a change will be looked for in Sa‘adia’s translation to Job, based on the understanding that translation is always a form of interpretation and theological updating. Sa‘adia’s translation will also be compared with Yefet Ben Eli’s work, and different aspects of Jewish subjectivity that may be reflected from the translations of both will be examined.

    Nabih Bashir

    Nabih Bashir

    Post-Doctoral Fellow

    Dr. Nabih Bashir holds a BA in Sociology, Anthropology and Political Science (1994) and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2005). Before further pursuing his advanced studies, he published several books in Arabic dealing with Israeli religio-political culture, the Shas Movement, Haredi society in the 20th century, and the formation of the Arab society in Israel in the shadow of the establishment of the State of Israel and its varieties of policies.

    Later on, he took intensive courses related to Jewish Thought, Arabic Language and Biblical Criticism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2008/9). Throughout the academic year 2009/10, he studied for an MA degree in Jewish Thought at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (his Master’s Thesis was entitled “The Synthetic Approach of Karaite Ya’qub Al-Qirqisani (~880 – ~950, Iraq) and his Biblical Exegesis: Genesis 18, 1-19 As a Case Study”, advisor: Prof. Daniel Lasker). In 2012 he published a new edition of “the Kuzari” of Judah ha-Levi in Arabic characters with rich and elaborate footnotes. In 2010 he started his doctoral studies focusing on the angels as a theological dilemma in the writings and exegesis of R. Saadia Gaon (882-942, Iraq), at Ben Gurion University (PhD advisor Prof. Daniel Lasker). He submitted his doctoral thesis in 2015, entitled “Angels in the Theology and Exegesis of Saadia Gaon: Human Being as the Purpose of Creation” (2015). His doctorate sought to elaborate the exact position of Saadia regarding angels in relation to human beings and elucidate Saadia’s argument that the human being is the goal of the whole process of creation.

    Currently, Dr. Bashir serves as adjunct lecturer at Birzeit University. He teaches an introductory course on the history of Jews, Judaism and Jewish thought with a special focus on Judaeo-Arabic culture. Generally, his research focuses on the development of Jewish theology and biblical exegesis through the Middle Ages.

    As a post-doctoral fellow within the Biblia Arabica project, Dr. Bashir intends to prepare a new annotated edition of Saadia’s Judaeo-Arabic commentary on Genesis with an English translation, including references to Christian and Islamic comparative sources and an Introduction covering the history of academic research in this field.

    Athalya Brenner

    Athalya Brenner

    Research Associate

    Prof. Athalya Brenner holds a BA in Biblical Studies and English Language and Literature (University of Haifa), MA in Biblical Studies (Hebrew University), and PhD in Biblical Studies (department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Manchester, England). She is Professor Emerita of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Chair at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and currently in Biblical Studies, Department Department of Biblical Studies, Tel Aviv University, Israel. She has a honorary PhD (2002) from the University of Bonn, Germany. This year (2014) she serves as the Vice President of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL; http://sbl-site.org). She has worked in Israel, Europe, the US and Hong Kong; and has published widely in the fields of Semitic philology, feminist criticism, and literary and cultural analysis, and Early Judaism and its literatures, mainly as related to the Bible and its reception history across ages, places and religions. For more details of her scholarly activities see her Internet site, Athalya-Morah-leTorah.com.

    Within the Biblia Arabica Project she will work on two research issues: 1. The links between the biblical stories about Abraham, Sarah and Hagar as they developed in their Jewish and Islamic afterlives through contacts and mutual dependencies, mainly as correlated to questions of territory; and 2. The development of the Islamic concepts on prophecy and list of prophets, from the biblical notions through the Qur’an and onwards, as reflected in literature of the first millennium CE. An additional task will be to support and enhance the visibility of the Project and its aims with international scholarly organizations, such as the SBL.

    Ora Brison

    Ora Brison

    Post-Doctoral Fellow

    Dr. Ora Brison holds a BA (Cum Laude) in Archaeology and Ancient Near East Cultures (2002), MA (Summa Cum Laude) in Archaeology and Ancient Near East Cultures (2007), and a PhD in Biblical Studies (2015), all from Tel Aviv University.

    Her research focuses on literary and multidisciplinary analysis including cultural-anthropology as well as literary feminist biblical criticism of female figures associated with the religious, magical and divinatory sphere in the Bible and Ancient Near East Cultures. Currently, she is also engaged in researching the changes in gender behavior in Jewish traditional religious communities in contemporary Israel. Her dissertation: “Between Biblical Heroines and the Divine Sphere: Female Heroics as Intermediaries between the Human and the Divine in the Bible and Ancient Near East Literature”, was supervised by Professor Athalya Brenner-Idan. Dr. Brison is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Tel-Aviv University under the co-guidance of Prof. Meira Polliack of the Department of Biblical Studies, and Prof. Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz of the Department of Classics Studies.

    Dr. Brison has participated in a number of international research groups within the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) and lectures in various international conferences. Several of her articles appeared in the texts & contexts series and in A Feminist Companion to the Bible series, published by Bloomsbury T&T Clark.

    Within the Biblia Arabica Project Dr. Brison will focus on Yefet ben Eli’s commentaries and examine his exegetical and literary approach to various biblical female figures.

    Nathan Gibson

    Nathan Gibson

    Research Associate
    Munich

    Nathan Gibson holds an MA (2011) and PhD (2015) in Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures with an emphasis in Arabic and Syriac from the Catholic University of America. His PhD dissertation, supervised by Sidney Griffith, explored the situation of Muslim-Christian relations in ninth-century Iraq through the lens of “The Refutation of Christians,” a polemical work by the Arabic prose master Amr ibn Bahr al-Jahiz (c. 776–868/869).

    He is currently assisting with the creation of the Bibliography of the Arabic Bible: A Classified and Annotated History of Scholarship. With over a thousand entries tagged by subject, manuscript, and biblical book, this resource is intended to be a comprehensive digital tool for navigating scholarship on the Arabic Bible, including its Christian, Jewish, and Samaritan translations and Muslim reception.

    Selected publications relevant to the project

    “A Mid-Ninth-Century Arabic Translation of Isaiah? Glimpses from Al-Jāḥiẓ.” In Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims, edited by Miriam Lindgren Hjälm, 325–69. Biblia Arabica 5. Leiden: Brill, 2017. http://doi.org/10.1163/9789004347403_015.

    Rachel Hasson

    Rachel Hasson

    Post-Doctoral Fellow

    Rachel Hasson holds a BA (2001) in General Studies and Arabic Language and Linguistics, an MA (2006) and PhD (2016) in the Arabic Language and Literature, all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her PhD dissertation was written under the supervision of Prof. Simon Hopkins. The topic of her thesis was “New manuscripts written in late Judaeo-Arabic from the Firkovitch collection – Description, classification and sample texts”. The work provided ten critical editions of unknown Judaeo-Arabic folk stories and poems from the Firkovitch collection, followed by a translation and relevant content-related introduction. Moreover, the work included a quantity estimation of the material and general details concerning folk literature in the Genizah, a classification of the corpus of folk literature in the Firkovitch collection, a description of some oral characteristics and main qualities of said material and a general linguistic description of the main late Judaeo-Arabic features of the texts. Her dissertation is a pioneering work in the field of Judaeo-Arabic folk literature in the Geniza.

    Rachel Hasson was a Researcher at The Center for the Study of Judaeo-Arabic literature of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem (2001–2013). Her work focused on identifying, cataloging and researching Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts from the Geniza. Her first main projects dealt with the reconstruction On the basis of manuscripts of Ya’qub al-Qirqisani’s commentary on Genesis and Tanhum HaYerushalmi’s commentaries on the Bible and his introduction to the Prophets. Later, she worked on all popular literature found in Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts from the main Geniza collections.

    Within the DIP project Rachel Hasson works on comparative aspects of Ya’qub al-Qirqisani’s commentary on Genesis. From this commentary she gleans the translated sections which she compares with the translation of Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon, to whom al-Qirqisani refers plainly or indirectly in his commentary, and to that of Yefet ben ‘Eli, whose translation reflects the Jerusalem Karaite tradition of translation. Moreover, she will work on two other topics: 1. Early Judaeo-Arabic folk literature from the Geniza, i.e. from the classical period of the Geniza (untill the 15th century); she will focus on the connections between these texts to the later folk literature materials from the Geniza, (from the 15th century onward). 2. She will investigate reflections of Muslim influences in popular Judaeo-Arabic Biblical stories from the Geniza; this research intends to clarify the medieval intercultural relationships between Jews and Muslims in the context of shared narratives.

    Zafer Tayseer Mohammad

    Zafer Tayseer Mohammad

    Post-Doctoral Fellow

    Dr. Zafer Tayseer Mohammad holds a BA in English Language and Literature from An-Najah National University in Nablus, West Bank (1996), a Master’s degree in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana (2004), and a Master’s degree in Biblical studies from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago (2006). He was awarded a doctoral scholarship from the Swiss government (2012) and successfully defended his doctoral dissertation: “the dismal depictions of Jerusalem and her transformation in the book of Isaiah” (December 2016), written at the University of Zurich under the academic supervision of Prof. Konrad Schmid. His dissertation’s fundamental purpose was to explore Jerusalem’s centrality and significance in the book of Isaiah with particular emphasis on its transformation from the ruination and demise of former times to its deliverance and restoration.

    His academic endeavors are guided by a vision that education is a vital instrument in fostering peaceful coexistence, in building mutual respect, and in promoting understanding between Jews and Muslims. As a pioneer in the academic context of the West Bank, Zafer believes that Palestinian Muslim students and scholars need to know more about Jewish and Christian scriptures to better understand the rich heritage they have in common with them.

    To that end, he primarily focuses on two interrelated goals. The first includes enhancing the West Bank academic curricula by including two elective courses; namely, “Introduction to the Old Testament” and “Introduction to Biblical Theology,” in some academic departments to further the establishment of Bible studies in the departments of history and faculties of Islamic theology. The second Goal is the creation of a cadre of Palestinian scholars who are trained in Biblical studies. He also has plans for undertaking a future research project titled “Introducing Bible Studies as an Academic Discipline in the Islamic Academic Settings of the Middle East” and, hopefully, founding an Arabic publication that will be a groundbreaking resource in the area.

    As a post-doctoral fellow within the Biblia Arabica project, Dr. Zafer concentrates on examining and analyzing the references to Jerusalem in the Arabic versions of the book of Isaiah, especially the Jewish translations. It would be exegetically beneficial to illustrate how Isaiah’s references to Jerusalem have been expressed in Arabic, the sacred language of Islam, in order to elucidate Jerusalem’s theological significance in non-biblical language and even in the sacred language of the Qur’an. Dr. Zafer’s research primarily focuses on the Genizah collections, Karaite translations, and the Tafisr of Saadiah Gaon. He will also study the Christian translations, the West and East Syriac and the Coptic translations, while comparing those to other ancient versions such as the Targums, Vulgate, and Septuagint.

    In dealing with the Jewish translations of and commentaries on the book of Isaiah (especially the ones by Saadia Gaon and the Karaite translations), he is interested in understanding and analyzing the theological and political perspectives of Jewish communities on Jerusalem; the dwelling city of Yahweh on earth, which was under a non-Jewish rule when these translations were produced. As for the academic outcome of his fellowship, Dr. Zafer intends to publish two papers: the first deals with the Jewish translations of the references to Jerusalem in the book of Isaiah and the other focuses on the Christian translations.

    Meirav Nadler-Akirav

    Meirav Nadler-Akirav

    Research Associate

    Dr. Meirav Nadler-Akirav is a graduate of the Department of Arabic Studies in Bar Ilan University, where she received her BA, Teaching Certificate (1998), MA (2000) and PhD (2010). Her PhD thesis focuses on The Arabic Commentary of Yefet ben Eli the Karaite on the Book of Amos: a scientific edition of chapters 1 to 4, with the Hebrew translation, an introduction and interpretations. The PhD research was conducted under the supervision of Prof. A. Schlosberg and Prof. D. Doron. Her research focuses on Medieval biblical commentary, mainly the one written in Jewish Arabic in the 10th and 11th centuries.

    Within the DIP project Nadler edits Yefet ben Eli’s commentary on the Book of Haggai, and also focuses on several other publications. She is currently working on two articles on Biblical commentary: on the literary-historical approach of Yefet ben Ali the Karaite, in his commentary on the Book of Amos; and on the translation of the words ulai and ulam in Yefet’s biblical commentaries, while comparing it to other biblical commentators. In addition, Nadler is also working on two entries for the THB: the first, together with Prof. M. Polilack, on Jewish Arabic translations of the early and latter Prophets; and the second, together with Prof. M. Polliack and Mr. Y. Zoran, on Jewish Arabic translations of the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Articles

    — with M. Polliack and Y. Zoran: ‘Arabic Translations of the Books Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles’. in The Textual History of the Bible, ed: A. Lange, E.Tov, Leiden:Brill, vol. 1 , 2016.
    — with M. Polliack: ‘Arabic Translations of the Early and Latter Prophets’. in The Textual History of the Bible, eds. A. Lange, E.Tov, Leiden:Brill, vol. 1, 2016.

    Forthcoming Books

    — The Arabic Commentary of Yefet Ben ‘Ali on The Books of Haggai and Malachi.

    Forthcoming Articles

    — ‘The Literary-Historical Approach of Yefet Ben ‘Eli in his Commentary of the Book of Amos’. in: European Journal of Jewish Studies (forthcoming).

    Arik Sadan

    Arik Sadan

    Research Associate

    Dr. Arik Sadan holds a BA in Linguistics and Arabic Language and Literature (2001) and an MA (2004) and PhD (2010) in Arabic Language and Literature, all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He wrote both his MA and PhD theses under the supervision of Prof. Aryeh Levin, receiver of the Israel Prize for Linguistics (2010). Both theses deal with Arabic grammatical thought in general and the verbal system of Classical Arabic in particular. Having submitted his PhD thesis, Sadan traveled to Paris and Jena, Université Paris 7 and Friedrich-Schiller-Universität respectively, where he spent two years of post-doctoral research. His post-doctoral research project focuses on editing and analyzing an ancient treatise in the field of Arabic grammar which deals not only with grammar and syntax but also with Rhetoric and Logic, based on eleven different manuscripts. In 2012 Sadan published the scientific edition of this work with Harrassowitz Verlag (http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/dzo/artikel/201/004/4123_201.pdf?t=1328168239), as well as a revised English version of his PhD thesis with Brill (http://www.brill.com/subjunctive-mood-arabic-grammatical-thought).

    Sadan’s research fields are Arabic grammatical thought, Arab grammarians, Classical, Modern and Colloquial Arabic linguistics and manuscripts in Arabic grammar and other fields. In the framework of the DIP project Sadan is working on preparing a scientific edition on the Judeo-Arabic translation and commentary of the Karaite Yefet Ben Eli to the book of Job, an edition that will be based on a few dozens manuscripts. This work will be published by Brill in two volumes: one for the scientific edition, and one for its translation into English. In addition, Sadan deals with various aspects related to the linguistic characteristics of Karaite manuscripts in Judeo-Arabic and with the comparison between these and manuscripts of other groups, for example Christian groups.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Articles

    — Yefet b. Eli’s Translation and Commentary on the Book of Job: Preliminary Linguistic Observations Based on the Manuscripts in Arabic and Hebrew Letters. Proceedings of the the sixth Conference on Semitic languages organized by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Semitistik in der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, the Chair of Semitic Languages at the University of Heidelberg and by the Chair of Hebrew Linguistics at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, the University of Heidelberg, 9–11 February 2015.

    Forthcoming Books

    — The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet ben ‘Eli the Karaite on the Book of Job. Forthcoming. Karaite Texts and Studies, Meira Polliack and Michael G. Wechsler (eds.). Leiden: E. J. Brill.
    — The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet ben ‘Eli the Karaite on the Book of Job – Translated into English. Forthcoming. Karaite Texts and Studies, Meira Polliack and Michael G. Wechsler (eds.). Leiden: E. J. Brill.

    Forthcoming Articles

    — ‘Translation into Hebrew of the second part of the introduction of the Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet ben ‘Eli the Karaite on the Book of Job’ (in Hebrew). in Anthology of Hebrew translations of Karaite texts, eds. E. Yoram and M. Polliack, forthcoming.
    — ‘Differences and similarities between Christian and Karaite translations of the Bible into Arabic: the case of the book of Job’. in Clivaz, Claire et al. (ed.). Proceedings of the international conference on current research in the field of the Arabic manuscripts of the Bible, Leuven, 22–24 April 2015.

    David Sklare

    David Sklare

    Research Associate

    Dr. David Sklare received his BA from Yale University (1976) in the Department of Religious Studies. His PhD is from Harvard University (1992), Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, in the program for post-Biblical Jewish History and Hebrew Literature. His doctoral dissertation topic was “The Religious and Legal Thought of Samuel Ben Hofni Gaon: Texts and Studies in Cultural History.” The dissertation includes the edition of two previously unknown works by Samuel Ben Hofni Gaon in Judeo-Arabic, dealing with topics in legal theory.

    Sklare’s research focuses on the culture (or cultures) of the Jews living in Arab lands in the Middle Ages and their literature in Judeo-Arabic. Among other topics, he has done work in the areas of legal literature and legal theory (both Rabbinate and Karaite), theology/philosophy, Jewish-Muslim polemics, Rabbinate-Karaite polemics, and biblical exegesis. Sklare directed the Center for the Study of Judeo-Arabic Culture and Literature of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem. The Center’s projects have included cataloging manuscripts of the Firkovitch collections (held by the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg), most of the Judeo-Arabic fragments from the Genizah of the Ben-Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, as well as reconstructing, editing and translating Judeo-Arabic works in the areas of Jewish law and biblical exegesis.

    Within the framework of the DIP Biblia Arabica project Sklare is working on two projects. The first is a catalog of the Firkovitch manuscripts containing biblical translations in Judeo-Arabic, of which Sklare has cataloged ninety shelfmarks so far. The second project is an investigation of the literary genre of biblical questions. The latter are very early Judeo-Arabic works from the beginning stages in the development of literal exegesis of the biblical text. The earliest surviving works of this sort are evidently from the middle of the ninth century. Sklare is preparing an edition and translation of the surviving fragments of two anonymous works of this genre as well as working on other tenth century fragments related to Sa’adya Gaon.

    Roy Vilozny

    Roy Vilozny

    Research Associate

    Dr. Roy Vilozny holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2000). His Master’s thesis, which describes the way early Imamate sources depict the life cycle of the Shi’ite believer — from his inception and until the end of time — was written under the supervision of prof. Etan Kohlberg of the Hebrew University (2004). In his doctoral dissertation (2012), supervised by prof. Meir M. Bar-Asher of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University, Vilozny delineates some fundamental theological principles and religious concepts of the Imamate Shi’a in its formative period (the 9th-10th centuries CE).

    As a fellow at the DIP Biblia Arabica project, Vilozny examines the way early Isma’ili authors approached the Bible. His main focus is on the their unique interpretation of biblical prophetic stories and their significant role in shaping the Isma’ili cyclical history of the world and of humankind.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Forthcoming Books

    — A 10th Century Isma’ili Guide to the Secrets of the Prophets (in preparation).

    Forthcoming Articles

    — ‘Some Antecedent Biblical Occultations according to the Shiite ghayba Genre’ (in preparation).

    Doron Ya’acov

    Doron Ya’acov

    Post-Doctoral Fellow

    Dr. Doron Ya’acov graduated with a BA in the Bible and Hebrew Language from Herzog Teachers’ College (2001). He received an MA in Hebrew Language from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2005). The title of his Master’s Thesis is “Plural Suffixes in Mishnaic Hebrew as Seen in the Kaufmann Manuscript”. He wrote his dissertation, “The Hebrew Language of the Jews of Southern Yemen (the Sharʻab and ʻAdan [Aden] Communities): Phonetics and Morphology of the Noun in the Mishnah”, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, under the guidance of Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher, and it was completed this past year.

    Currently, he works in the academic secretariat of the Academy of the Hebrew Language and teaches in the Department of Hebrew language at Herzog College. He is interested, and engaged in, the study of the Hebrew language in all its periods, particularly Mishnaic Hebrew. He also studies the Arabic of the South-Yemenite Jews, on which he is currently editing a dictionary.

    In the DIP project, Ya’acov intends to work on a traditional Yemenite Jewish reading of Rav Sa’adia Gaon’s translation of the Bible, including analysis of thetext’s grammar and special phenomena relating to the Yemenite oral tradition of Judeo-Arabic.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Forthcoming Books

    — The Tifsīr – Rav Saadia Gaon’s Translation of the Bible according to The Yemenite Jewish Oral Tradition: Critical Edition with an Introduction, (forthcoming).

    Forthcoming Articles

    — ‘The Yemenite Jewish Reading Tradition of Rav Saadia Gaon’s Translation of the Bible – Phonology, Morphology and other Characteristics’, forthcoming.

    Yair Zoran

    Research Associate

    Mr. Yair Zoran completed his B.A. degree (Biblical Studies; Arabic language and literature) and M.A. degree (Arabic language and literature) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His M.A thesis (supervised by Dr. Miriam Goldstein) was on Yefet ben Eli’s translation and commentary on the book of Obadiah. His critical edition of the text appeared as an article in Ginzei Qedem.

    Within the Biblia Arabica project Yair is engaged in preparing a critical edition of Yefet’s commentaries on the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles (with the help of Prof. Meira Polliack). Being blind from early childhood Yair is assisted by Mr. Shammai Fishman, a colleague and Judeo-Arabist himself, who reads the manuscripts out loud to Yair. Upon hearing the texts, Yair types them into a computer, which is connected to a braille monitor and a Braille vocal program. These enable Yair to see the texts and to translate them into Hebrew.

    Of late, Yair has published an article called “The Great Name and its Merits in Islam and their Parallels in Jewish Literature” (Hebrew) in Bein Ever le-Arav 9 edited by Prof. Joseph Yuval Tobi. This is only a first part of his research on this topic, the second part of which will hopefully appear in the next volume of the periodical. On the 22 May 2017 at 18:15 he will be lecturing at the Hebrew University’s Kister-Banet forum, in connection to his work on the Yefet editions.

  • Doctoral Researchers
    Iqbal Abd El-Raziq

    Iqbal Abd El-Raziq

    Doctoral Fellow

    Iqbal Abd El-Raziq received her BA degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies (1997) and her Master degree (2012) from Tel Aviv University. She has written her Master’s thesis under the supervision of Prof. Uri Rubin, with the title “Idolatry and Idols in the Quran and Early Muslim Tradition”.

    Abd El-Raziq is now enrolled for the first phase of her PhD studies within Biblia Arabica project. Her dissertation will be carried out under the supervision of Prof. Camilla Adang and Prof. Meira Polliack at Tel Aviv University. The dissertation topic will be, “The Revelation of Jewish Scriptures according to Early and Classical Islamic Sources”, where she will examine how the Muslim scholars have perceived the process of revelation and the mediums in which God has brought his books and messages to the Jewish prophets. She will also examine the Muslim scholars’ attitudes toward the Jewish scriptures and the way they have related to them.

    Besides researching the Quran and the development of the early Islamic tradition in relation to it, Abd El-Raziq is also interested in the interactions and relationship between the Abrahamic religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam), mainly as they are reflected in early and classical Muslim sources.

    Sivan Nir

    Sivan Nir

    Doctoral Fellow

    Sivan Nir is a PhD student of the Bible program in the Department of Biblical Studies at Tel-Aviv University. He started working on his PhD dissertation last October (2013). Its title is, “The development of the literary character from late Midrash literature to medieval exegesis, as exemplified in the characters of Balaam, David, Jeremiah Ruth and Esther”. This dissertation expands upon the methods of his earlier MA thesis, “The Character of Ruth in Medieval Jewish Exegesis”.

    Nir holds a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Talmud (2011) and a Master’s degree in Bible (2013). Both degrees were awarded, summa cum laude, by the Department of Biblical Studies. During his studies he was part of the Dean’s Honors List (2009) as well as being awarded the “Bimat Hachoker” prize (2012).

    Nir’s scholarly pursuits include: Medieval hermeneutics, possible connections between Jewish Arabic Medieval Exegetes and their European counterparts, the Influence of later midrashic Collections upon Medieval Jewish commentaries, and also the Minor Prophets in all aspects of modern research.

    Nir’s contribution to the DIP project focuses mainly on translating exegetical texts relating to his dissertation from manuscript form, mostly of the important Karaite exegete Yefet Ben Eli. Currently, Nir is assisting Prof. Meira Polliack and Prof. Eliezer Schlossberg with preparations for their future edition of Yefet ben-Eli’s commentary on Zephaniah. Nir created this website with the assistance of Prof. Athalya Brenner. He updates and maintains the site on a regular basis.
    Articles

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    — with Meira Polliack: “Many Beautiful Meanings can be Drawn from such a Comparison”: On the Medieval Interaction View of Biblical Metaphor in Exegesis and Poetry in Medieval Karaite and Rabbanite Texts, Karaite Texts and Studies Volume 9. ed. J. Yeshaya and E. Hollender. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2016,forthcoming), pp. 51-100.
    Yolanda Yavor

    Yolanda Yavor

    Doctoral Fellow

    Yolanda Yavor started her academic studies (2006) in the Department of Arabic and Islamic studies at Tel Aviv University, and received the BA degree with highest honor in this Department (2009), where she also undertook her MA studies. She wrote her Master’s thesis, for which she received the MA degree with highest honor (2014) under the supervision of Prof. Camilla Adang. The thesis contains a textual and philological analysis of the story of the intended sacrifice of Abraham’s son in the Qurʾan (Q 37: 100-113) – Qiṣṣat al-dhabīḥ.The methodology used is a comparison between the Qurʾanic version of the story and its biblical parallels and versions of Jewish origin – post-biblical and pre-Qur’anic – with reference to other verses in the Qur’an, the early Sunni tradition and conclusions reached in Western studies.

    Yavor is now enrolled for the first phase of her PhD studies within the DIP Biblia Arabica project. Her dissertation, which will be written under the supervision of both Prof. Camilla Adang and Prof. Meira Polliack, will be dedicated to a textual and philological analysis of materials from the Qurʾān and early post-Qurʾānic Muslim tradition that deal with the destruction of Judea (and related issues), in order to uncover the significations of this issue in early Islam. This is in keeping with Yavor’s general interest in the Qurʾan and the early Muslim traditions, as well as in the interactions between these corpora and the holy scriptures of Jews and Christians.

  • Affiliated Researchers
    Geoff Martin

    Geoff Martin

    Affiliated Researcher

    Dr. Martin is a specialist in the history of medieval Iberia’s Arabic-speaking Christians, a group many scholars now call Mozarabs. His essay, “A Mozarab Translator at Work,” will appear in the forthcoming volume Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition. Since completing his dissertation, he has begun revising the work into a monograph, under the working title “The Mozarabs’ Bibles”. His project offers a thorough look at the Mozarabic translators who rendered the Psalms from Latin into Arabic, as well as the Mozarabic scribes/annotators who wrote hundreds of Arabic notes in Latin biblical manuscripts. Broadly speaking, he demonstrates that the Mozarabs employed Qurʿānic phrasing in their Arabic translations, but also that they drew upon Latin culture to a greater degree than many scholars have realized. Furthermore, rather than trying to determine whether the Mozarabs were Muslims who converted to Christianity or Christians who became Arab, as some scholars have attempted, Dr. Martin argues that the Mozarabic translators and annotators whom he studies get as close to the literal meaning of Mozarab—one who acts like an Arab—as we are going to get. He has won grants and fellowships from The Medieval Academy of America, The Warburg Institute at the University of London, and the University of Tennessee Humanities Center, among others.

    Dr. Martin has also begun thinking about a second project. While he plans to continue interpreting the Mozarabs’ manuscripts, such as an eleventh-century canon law manuscript in Arabic, he also wants to learn and write about the Arabic-speaking Christian communities of North Africa. He is grateful to contribute his scholarship to the Biblia Arabica project, from which he has learned much about the medieval Mediterranean world.

    Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala

    Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala

    Affiliated Researcher
    University of Cordoba

    Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala (M.A. 1995, Ph.D. 1996, University of Granada) is currently a Full Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Cordoba. His courses deal with Arabic language and literature, and Islamic history. He teaches Master courses in the University of Granada as invited professor in the Department of Semitic Studies. His research focuses on Christian Arabic literature in the Near East and in al-Andalus. He is the founding co-editor together with Prof. Samir Khalil Samir of Collectanea Christiana Orientalia, and member of scientific committee of the Series Biblia Arabica in Brill.

    Recent publications relevant to the project
    Articles and Book Chapters

    — “The Lyre of Exegesis: Ibn al-Ṭayyib’s Analytical Patters of the Account of the Destruction of Sodom”, in Exegetical Crossroads: Understanding Scripture in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the Pre-Modern Orient, ed. Georges Tamer, R. Grundmann, A. Elias Kattan, abd K. Pinggéra, Berlin-Boston: De Gruyter, 2018, pp. 119-143.
    — “The Testament of Adam in Arabic Dress: Two Coptic-Arabic Witnesses of the Narrative Type ‘b’”, in The Embroidered Bible: Studies in Biblical Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Honour of Michael E. Stone, ed. Lorenzo DiTommaso, Matthias Henze and William Adler, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2017, pp. 736-757.
    “Wandering Mythical Stories. Once again on Enoch 6:1-6 and Michael the Great”, Mediterranea: International Journal on the Transfer of Knowledge 1 (2016), pp. 107-115. https://doi.org/10.21071/mijtk.v0i1.5175
    — “Translating the Gospels into Arabic from Syriac: Vatican Arabic 13 Restored Section, Strategies and Goals”, Arabica 62 (2015), pp. 435-458.
    — “The Pauline Epistle to Philemon from Codex Vatican Arabic 13 (Ninth Century CE). Transcription and Study”, Journal of Semitic Studies LX:2 (2015), pp. 341-371.

    Books

    Lecturas hexaplares y posthexaplares en la versión árabe del libro de Números de al-Ḥāriṯ b. Sinān b. Sunbāṭ (c. s. X AD), «Colección Benito Arias Montano», Serie Monografías, Arabica 1, Madrid: Editorial Sindéresis, 2017.
    Evangelio árabe fragmentario de Marcos (Ms. Qarawiyyīn 730). Una traducción árabe andalusí del siglo X. Edición diplomática y estudio preliminar, Córdoba: UCOPress, 2016.

    Peter Tarras

    Affiliated Researcher
    Munich

    Peter Tarras is currently writing his PhD thesis in the field of Arabic philosophy at the Munich School of Ancient Philosophy (MUSAΦ), mainly focusing on the relation between the problem of evil and conceptions of free will in Arabic Neoplatonism in the period from the 8th to 10th century CE. Methodologically this work seeks to investigate the history of Arabic philosophy from an integrative perspective, taking serious intellectual exchange between philosophical and non-philosophical discourses as well as between Jewish, Christian and Muslim intellectuals in the Islamicate world. His research interests further include medieval Jewish philosophy in Arabic and Hebrew, Oriental Christian literature, especially Christian-Arabic and Syriac, as well as Judeo-Arabic literature. As an affiliated member of the Biblia Arabica project, he works on biblical quotations in Christian-Arabic apologetical literature, Bible commentaries, and the history of modern manuscript collections.

    Selected publications relevant to the project

    “The Spirit Before the Letter: Theodore Abū Qurra’s Use of Biblical Quotations in the Context of Early Christian Arabic Apologetics.” In Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims, edited by Miriam Lindgren Hjälm, 79–103. Biblia Arabica 5. Leiden: Brill, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004347403_005.

    Marzena Zawanowska

    Marzena Zawanowska

    Affiliated Researcher

    Dr. Marzena Zawanowska graduated from the Departments of Hebrew and Arabic Studies at the University of Warsaw (2001). She received her PhD in Bible exegesis from the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the same University (2008) in cooperation with Tel Aviv University. A significantly revised and largely expanded version of her dissertation, devoted to the Karaite Yefet ben Eli and his Arabic commentary on the Abraham’s cycle, and including a scientific edition of this commentary, was published by Brill in the series “Karaite Texts and Studies” (2012, http://www.brill.com/arabic-translation-and-commentary-yefet-ben-eli-karaite-abraham-narratives-genesis-1110-2518). Apart from Bible exegesis, her research interests include Hebrew Literature and Jewish Philosophy. Among other things, she was head of a major project in publishing all of Ch. N. Bialik’s (Hebrew and Yiddish) poetry in bilingual–Polish-Hebrew and Polish-Yiddish–editions, which appeared in 2012.

    Within the DIP project Zawanowska is preparing a second volume of the afore-mentioned book, devoted to Yefet ben Eli’s interpretation of the Abraham’s cycle. The book will include an English translation of the text edited in the first volume. In addition, she is also working on a series of articles, in which she explores the complex attitudes of Medieval Karaite exegetes, active in the tenth and eleventh centuries in Jerusalem, to the question of biblical anthropomorphisms.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Articles

    — Reading Divine Attributes into the Scriptural Text in Medieval Karaite Bible Translations,” in , Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims, Miriam L. Hjälm(ed.) (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming, 2017).
    — The Bible Read through the Prism of Theology: The Rendering of Explicit Anthropomorphisms in the Medieval Karaite Tradition of Arabic Bible Translation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 24 (2016): 1–66.
    — “The Limits of Literalism in Medieval Karaite Translations of the Hebrew Bible into Arabic,” in Commentaria, Leiden: Brill, 2016, pp. 241–262.
    — “‘Where the Plain Meaning is Obscure or Unacceptable…’: The Treatment of Implicit Anthropomorphisms in the Medieval Karaite Tradition of Arabic Bible Translation,” European Journal of Jewish Studies 10 (2016): 1–49.
    — ’Was Moses the mudawwin of the Torah? The Question of Authorship of the Pentateuch According to Yefet ben ‘Eli’, in Studies in Judaeo-Arabic Culture:Proceedings of the Fourteenth Conference of the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies, eds. H. Ben-Shammai, A. Dotan, Y. Erder and M. A. Freidman, Tel Aviv University, 2014, pp. 7*–35*.
    — ‘Review of Scholarly Research on Yefet ben ‘Eli and His Works’, Revue des études juives 173 (1/2) (2014): 97–138.
    — with Meira Polliack: “‘God Would not Give the Land, but to the Obedient’: Medieval Karaite Responses to the Curse of Canaan (Genesis 9:25)”, in The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought, from Antiquity to the Modern Period, eds. K. Berthelot, J. E. David and M. Hirshman, Oxford:Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 112–152.
    — ’Islamic Exegetical Terms in Yefet ben ‘Eliʼs Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures’, Journal of Jewish Studies 64 (2013): 306–325.
    — ‘In the Border-Land of Literalism: Interpretative Alterations of Scripture in Medieval Karaite Translations of the Bible into Arabic’, IHIW 1 (2013): 179–202.

    Forthcoming articles

    — “‘Where the Plain Meaning is Obscure or Unacceptable…’: The Elimination of Implicit Anthropomorphism in Medieval Karaite Translations ofthe Biblical Verses into Arabic”. in: European Journal of Jewish Studies, forthcoming.
    — ‘The Limits of Literalism: Yefet’s Approach to Bible Translation’. in Commentaria, Brill, Leiden, forthcoming.

  • Project Alumni

    Roni Cohen

    M.A. Fellow

    Roni Cohen received his BA degree in Jewish History and Biblical Studies (2012) from Tel Aviv University with honors. Cohen is currently composing his MA thesis (2013-) on the structure, origins and hermeneutic elements of “Midrash Va-Yosha” under the supervision of Prof. Meira Polliack and Prof. Elchanan Reiner.

    His major academic interests encompass exposing the presence of hermeneutic elements in texts that are not considered to be exegetic, such as late Midrashic texts, medieval folklore and other types of Jewish literature. Within the DIP project Cohen deals with the administrative aspects of creating an anthology of Karaite works produced in the Islamic domain, including a serious amount of Karaite Bibilcal exegesis of great commentators such as Jacob Qirqisany, Yefet Ben Ali and David Ben Boaz. The anthology project is led by Prof. Yoram Erder and Prof. Meira Polliack and will contain a wide range of works from medieval Karaites in the Islamic milieu all translated into Hebrew, as well as introductions and commentaries by prominent researchers of Karaite literature.

    Miriam Lindgren Hjälm

    Miriam Lindgren Hjälm

    Research Associate

    Miriam Lindgren Hjälm holds an MA in Semitic Studies from the University of Uppsala and is in the process of submitting her PhD thesis at the same university in cooperation with Tel Aviv University. Her PhD thesis focuses on early Christian Arabic versions of the Book of Daniel with special attention paid to their translation techniques. As a point of departure, the method worked out by Professor Meira Polliack with regard to Judaeo-Arabic translations (1997) is used and the thesis offers a partial comparison between early Christian Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic (Sa’adya Gaon and Yefet ben Eli) techniques. Polliack supervised the project.

    Apart from translation techniques, Miram’s interests include the use of the Christian Old Testament in the Byzantine and Oriental liturgy, ecclesiastical languages, and the perception of holy scriptures in these communities.

    Within the DIP project, she intends to rework and publish her doctoral thesis. She also aims to write articles on the reception of other early Christian Arabic Old Testament books as well as on early liturgical Bible material in Arabic and the use thereof vis-à-vis texts in the traditional liturgical language(s) among Near-Eastern Christians.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Books

    Christian Arabic Versions of Daniel: A Comparative Study of Early MSS and Translation Techniques in MSS Sinai Ar. 1 and 2. Leiden: Brill, 2016.
    — ed. Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

    Articles

    — “Arabic versions, primary, Daniel”,”Arabic versions, secondary, Daniel”, “Arabic versions, secondary, Proverbs”, “Arabic versions, secondary, Chronicles”, “Arabic versions, secondary, Latter Prophets”,”Arabic versions, secondary, Job,” inThe textual History of the Bible, vol. 1. Edited by A. (general editor); E. Tov (volume editor); M. Polliack (area editor), Leiden: Brill, 2016.
    — “The Christian Arabic Book of Daniel Extant versions, canonical constellations, and relation to the liturgical practice, with an Appendix of ‘The Song of the Three Young Men,’” Collectanea Christiana Orientalia 12 (2015): 115-178.
    — “The changing face of the Arabic Bible: Translation techniques in early renditions of Ezekiel,” Open Theology 2 (2016): 832-848, https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0062.
    — “The Major Prophets in Arabic: The authorship of Pethiōn revisited in light of the Sinai Findings,” in Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslimshttps://doi.org/10.1163/9789004347403_020.

    Forthcoming Articles

    — “Overview of the Arabic Manuscript production”,”Arabic, Letter of Jeremiah”, “Arabic, 1 Baruch”,”Arabic, Additions to Daniel”, in The Textual History of the Bible, vol. 2. Edited by A. Lange (general editor); M. Henze (volume editor). Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.

    Ilana Sasson (Z”L)

    Ilana Sasson (Z”L)

    Affiliated Researcher

    Dr. Ilana Sasson received her MSc from the Department of Genetics of the Hebrew University at Hadassah Ein Karem. She wrote a Master’s thesis that dealt with a mutation that causes a G6PD deficiency and its ramifications for certain Jewish populations of Iraqi descent. She received her MPhil as part of her doctoral studies, from the Department of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (2007), and her PhD from the same institution and department (2010). The title of her doctoral thesis is: “Methods and Approach in Yefet ben Eli’s Translation and Commentary on the Book of Proverbs.” She has been a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Biblical Studies, Tel-Aviv University, under the guidance of Prof. Meira Polliack.

    Her major academic interests are medieval translations and commentaries on the Bible, Karaism, Medieval Judeo-Arabic literature, Yefet ben Eli, and the Cairo Genizah. Her DIP projects include the preparation of a scientific edition of Yefet ben Eli’s translation and commentary on the Book of Proverbs; publication of studies in Yefet’s commentaries, and, in the next stage, the translation of his work on Proverbs into English.

    Selected publications relevant to the project
    Books

    — The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet Ben Eli on the Book of Proverbs, Volume 1: Edition and Introduction (Leiden: Brill, 2016).

    Articles

    — “The Mudawwin Revisited: Yefet ben Eli on the Composition of the Book of Proverbs,” JJS lxvii no. 2 (fall 2016): 327-339.
    — “Ibn Balaam, Judah (Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā) ben Samuel”, “Ibn Quraysh, Judah”, “Ibn al-Tabbān, Levi (Abū ‘l-Fahm) ben Jacob”. in Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, Edited by Dale C. Allison Jr. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.
    — “The Judaeo-Arabic Translations of the Book of Psalms”, “The Judaeo-Arabic Translations of the Book of Job”, “The Judaeo-Arabic Translations of the Book of Proverbs”, “The Judaeo-Arabic Translations of the Five Scrolls.” in Textual History of the Bible, Vol. 1, Edited by Armin Lange and Emanuel Tov. Leiden: Brill, 2016.
    — “‘The Matter Applies Not Only to Man’: Gender Equality in Yefet ben Eli’s Biblical Commentary and in the Karaite Legal System” [in Hebrew],  Ben Ever La-Arav 6 (2014): 71-96.
    — ‘The Book of the Law in the House of the Lord is a Copy (‘nuskha’) Written by Moses: Yefet ben Eli’s Commentary on 2 Kings 22:1-23:3’, Ginzei Qedem 10 (2014): 157-190.
    — ‘Masorah and Grammar as Revealed in Tenth Century Karaite Exegesis’, JSIJ 12 (2013): 1-36.
    — “The Book of Proverbs between Saadia and Yefet,” in IHIW 1(2013): 159-178.
    — ‘Gender Equality in Yefet ben Eli’s Commentary and Karaite Halakhah’, AJS Review 37,1 (2013): 51-74.

    Sabine Schmidtke

    Sabine Schmidtke

    Principal Investigator

    Sabine Schmidtke is Professor of Islamic Intellectual History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. She has a BA (summa cum laude) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1986), an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (1987), and a D. Phil. from the University of Oxford (1990). She did her Habilitation at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn (1990).  From 1991 to 1999 she was a diplomat at the German Foreign Office. After teaching Islamic Studies in Bonn (1997-1999) and Berlin (1999-2001), she was offered the Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of Vienna (2002), which she declined in favour of a professorship in Berlin. She held fellowships at the Institutes of Advanced Study in Princeton (2008-2009), Jerusalem (2002, 2003; 2005-2006) and Tel Aviv (2011), the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies in Philadelphia (2010) and the Scaliger Institute in Leiden (together with C. Adang, 2007) and is the recipient of an 1,86 million Euro Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (2008-2013), as well as various other grants from the Henkel Foundation (2006-2007, 2008), the Fritz Thyssen Foundation (2005-2007, 2010-2011), the Einstein Foundation Berlin (2011-2015), the DFG together with the NEH (2010-2013), the German Foreign Office (2010) as well as a Koselleck grant (DFG).  She has been coordinating a number of international research groups and convened a number of international conferences in Berlin, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Princeton and Madrid.

    Schmidtke’s main research interests are Islamic Studies; Jewish and Christian Oriental Studies; and the Intellectual History of the Islamicate World.

    Her publications can be accessed at: https://ias.academia.edu/SabineSchmidtke.