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Old Jewish Commentaries on the Song of Songs I

The Commentary of Yefet ben Eli- Edited and translated from Judeo-Arabic by Joseph Alobaidi

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Edited By Joseph Alobaidi

The commentary of Yefet ben Eli the Karaite (second half of the tenth century) on The Song of Songs is example of an exegetical work obeying two imperatives: The explanation of the divine message of Salvation mixed with the assiduous Karaite effort to prove wrong their adversaries, the Rabbanites, with the help of the Bible. In so doing Yefet ben Eli wrote a thoughtful and original commentary on the very symbolic Song of Songs. Indeed, according to Yefet ben Eli nothing in the Book should be taken realistically. The ability of Yefet to replace symbols by historical events is one of the many marks that show Yefet’s mastery and the originality of his commentary.

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Contents

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Preface .................................................................................................... IX The Manuscript ....................................................................................... XI Yefet’s translation of the Song of Songs. ................................................. 1 The Judeo-Arabic text of Yefet’s commentary Chapter 1 ........................................................................................... 27 Chapter 2 ........................................................................................... 42 Chapter 3 ........................................................................................... 61 Chapter 4 ........................................................................................... 72 Chapter 5 ........................................................................................... 88 Chapter 6 ......................................................................................... 107 Chapter 7 ......................................................................................... 116 Chapter 8 ......................................................................................... 131 The English Translation of Yefet’s commentary Chapter 1 ......................................................................................... 147 Chapter 2 ......................................................................................... 177 Chapter 3 ......................................................................................... 203 Chapter 4 ......................................................................................... 221 Chapter 5 ......................................................................................... 245 Chapter 6 ......................................................................................... 273 Chapter 7 ......................................................................................... 287 Chapter 8 ......................................................................................... 309 Index of Biblical Quotations ................................................................. 329

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