Борис Рашковский. Хазары и иудаизм в библейских комментариях Йефета бен Эли. Новый средневековый еврейский источник по истории Восточной Европы

Khazars and Judaism in the Biblical Commentaries of Yefet ben Ali. A New Medieval Jewish Source for Eastern European History

By Boris Rashkovsky

( Margarita Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature)

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 3 (2014): 210-230

Publication date: December 1, 2014

Publication type: source publication

Language: Russian

Full text:

 

Abstract

The author discusses the problem of the perception of Khazar conversion into Judaism in the medieval Jewish Karaite sources: the “Book of Reaches” by Jacob ben Reuben of Constantinople, the “Book of Gardens and Parks” by Yaqub al-Qirqisani, Yephet ben Eli’s commentaries on Ezekiel and Genesis and some others. It is demonstrated on the basis of one St. Petersburg ms. that the indication of the Khazars by the Hebrew term mamzer (e. g. bastard) in Jacob ben Reben’s commentary on Ezekiel 47: 22–23 in fact traces back to Yephet’s interpretation of the same verses.
The author also demonstrates that in his another reference to Khazar conversion into Judaism, Yephet ben Eli mentions the same tradition of interpretation of Genesis 9:27 as does Yaqub al-Qirqisani in his work. This perception of Khazars was based not on the “Book of Gardens and Parks” but on the other sources known to both 10th century Karaite Judaeo-Arabic biblical commentators.
Yephet had no doubt about the fact of Khazar conversion into Judaism. But he also distinguishes in his commentaries between the Khazars and the “righteous proselytes” (hebr. gerei ha-tsedek), and this treatment corresponds in many aspects with the perception of Khazar conversion in other related 10th century Jewish texts, such as “King Joseph’s Letter.” The author considers that these sources refect the same situation of two diferent identities of converted Khazars: their confessional Judaic identity and ethnic Turkic one. The author considers that the existence of non-Jewish ethnic identity of those converts led to the negative tendencies against the Khazars in the Karaite literature, such as using of the term mamzer to characterize them.

 

References

Ankori, Zvi. Karaites in Byzantium. The Formative Years, 970 – 1100. New York–Jerusalem: Columbia University Press, 1959.

Daud, Abraham ibn. The Book of Tradition (Sefer ha-Kabbalah). Edited by G. D. Cohen. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1967.

Gintsburg, Iona. Katalog ievreiskikh rukopisei SPbF IV RAN. New York–Paris: Norman Ross Pub., 2002.

Ha-Levi, Yehuda. Kitab al-radd wa-‘l-dalil fi ‘l-din al-dhalil (al-kitab al-Khazari). Edited by David H. Baneth and Haggai Ben-Shammai. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1977.

Ha-Levi, Yehuda. Sefer ha-Kuzari be-haatakato shel rabbi Yehuda ibn Tibbon. Tel-Aviv: Mahberot le-sifrut, 1988.

Harkavy, Abraham. “Divrei Avraham.” Maggid 39 (1877): 357.

---. “Rav Saadia Gaon al davar ha-khozarim.” In Semitic studies in Memory of Rev. Dr. Alexander Kohut, edited by George A. Kohut, 244–247. 1897. Reprint, Jerusalem: Makor, 1972.

Kokovtsov, Pavel. Ievreisko-khazarskaia perepiska v X v. Leningrad: AN SSSR, 1932.

Kondrat’ev, Pavel. “Ievreiskiie rukopisi v sobraniiakh Instituta vostokovedeniia AN SSSR.” Palestinskii sbornik 28 (1986): 74–88.

Landau, Menachem. “Maamada ha-nokhahi shel beaiat ha-kuzarim,” Zion 8 (1943): 94–106.

Shapira, Dan Y. “Judaization of Central Asian Traditions As Reflected in the So-Called Jewish-Khazar Correspondence, with Two Excurses: A. Judah Halevy’s Quotations; B. Eldad ha-Dani (Judeo-Turkica VI with an addendum).” In Khazary, vol. 16 of Ievrei i slaviane, edited by V. Petrukhin, V. Moskovich, A. Fedorchuk, A. Kulik, D. Shapira. Moscow–Jerusalem: Mosty kul’tury / Gesharim, 2006.

Shapira, Dan. “Khazarskoie naslediie v Vostochnoi Ievrope.” In Istoriia ievreiskogo naroda v Rossii, edited by Israel’ Bartal’, Aleksandr Kulik, 1:164–184. Moskow–Jerusalem: Mosty kul’tury / Gesharim, 2010).

Starkova, Klavdiia. “O publikatsii i issledovaniiakh pamiatnikov ievreisko-arabskoi literatury.” In Semitskiie iazyki. Materialy konferentsii po semitskim iazykam. 26–28.10.1964, edited by G. Sh. Sharbatov. Moscow: AN SSSR, Institut narodov Azii, 1965.

 

 

DOI 10.14653/ju.2014.13