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Yefet’s life and works

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Chapter Summary

Like many of the Jerusalem Karaites of his day, Yefet ben 'Eli ha-Levi, known by his full Arabic name as Abu 'Ali asan ibn 'Ali al-Lawi al-Bari, would appear to have been an eastern émigré-specifically, as suggested by the nisba "al-Baṣrī," from the city of Ba.sra in southeastern 'Irāq. It has been suggested, moreover, in view of the divergence between the extant Mss of Yefet and citations by Ibn Ezra, that Yefet completed a second recension of his entire biblical commentary, yet the evidence for this from the Mss of Yefet is wanting, with the exception of that which may be internally deduced from his commentaries on Daniel, the Pentateuch, and, perhaps, Psalms. Yefet's translation and commentary on Esther, commends itself on several counts to those interested in such literature-whether the parameters of this interest be medieval Karaism, medieval Jewish scholarship, or biblical scholarship generally.

Keywords:biblical commentary; Esther; medieval Karaism; Yefet ben 'Eli ha-Levi



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