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Old Jewish Commentaries on «The Song of Songs» II

The Two Commentaries of Tanchum Yerushalmi- Text and translation


Joseph Alobaidi

This book contains two commentaries on The Song of Songs by Tanchum Yerushalmi (c. 1220-1291), one of the best representatives of rational exegesis in the Middle Eastern rabbinical school of thought. His in depth knowledge of the Bible as well as his acquaintance with Greek philosophy, added to familiarity with his own Jewish tradition allowed him to write rich biblical commentaries. In so doing he showed himself as a worthy disciple of Saadia Gaon, Hai and Ibn Janah whom he mentions in his commentary on The Song of Songs. The extent of his knowledge can easily be seen in both his philological and philosophical commentaries on one of the most intriguing books of the Bible.
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The Manuscript


The Ms. Oxford, Neubauer 363 (Poc 320) of 68 folios, edited in this volume, is part of Tanchum’s a commentary on the Megilot. Indeed, the Ms. Starts by the following:

איש נעמי (רות 1:4 ) אי זוגהא. כאשׂר שנים (רוא 1:4 ) בכאף אלתשביה אי קריב מן דֹלך. ותשאר האשה משני ילדיהא (רות 1:5 ) יריד שכולה או יחידה או מא שאבה דֹלך. ושדה אלשין ותשאר לאנגדֹאם נון אלאנפעאל.

The man of Noami (Ru 1:4) or her husband. (1:4 כאשר שנים (רוא with the comparative כ. In other words, closer to [ten years]. And the woman was left ותשאר without her two sons (Ru 1:5) designating her widowhood, her loneliness or what is similar to that. The doubling of the ש is due to the dropping out of the נ of nifal.

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