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The Messiah in Isaiah 53

The commentaries of Saadia Gaon, Salmon ben Yeruham and Yefet ben Eli on Is 52:13-53:12- Edition and translation

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Joseph Alobaidi

Saadia's commentary on the servant passage of Is 52:13-53:12 presents one of the oldest anti-messianic interpretations of Isaiah's passage. This first time edition and translation of his commentary, found among manuscripts from Cairo Geniza, unveils Saadia's way of reasoning and his struggle against all kind of apocalyptic ideas threatening the Jewish community of his time. Salmon ben Yeruham and Yefet ben Eli tried to oppose his interpretation by using traditional messianic categories. Their commentaries, edited and translated (Salmon, for the first time in English) on the basis of more manuscripts than previous editions, represent the Karaite expectation of a saviour for Israel in exile. Both believe that the servant of Isaiah's passage is an anticipated figure of the awaited liberator. As a result, we have three exegetical masterpieces of this vital passage in Isaiah.
Contents: R. Saadia Gaon: Introduction, Judeo-Arabic text, Translation - Salmon ben Yeruham: Introduction, Judeo-Arabic text, Translation - Yefet ben Eli: Introduction, Judeo-Arabic text, Translation - Synopsis - Biblical index.