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Yefet’s translation of Esther

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Chapter Summary

Among the medieval Karaites, whose extant Arabic translations of Scripture are generally characterized by "imitative"-that is, literalistic- technique, Yefet has been ranked as the "most imitative" of all. Such, at least, is the assessment of M. Polliack in her thorough study of Karaite Arabic translations of the Pentateuch-which assessment is consistent with our own regarding the book of Esther, of which the only other (positively identified) extant Karaite Arabic translation, discounting the few snippets supplied by David ben Abraham al-Fasi in his dictionary, is that of Salmon ben Yeru?im. It would seem to have been more to Salmon's purpose, in other words, to produce a translation that would be self-standing, and, therefore, necessarily more interpretive than Yefet's-though not quite as interpretive (such that it might be considered non-imitative) as Saadia's.

Keywords:Arabic translations; book of Esther; medieval Karaites; Yefet



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