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The Translation Of Sacred Texts Into Judeo-Arabic (The šarḥ)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with a general inquiry into the translation of sacred religious texts into Jewish religiolects. It considers the perceived sanctity of the translated texts and demonstrates how translators dealt with the constant linguistic tension between their desire to provide as literal a translation of the original sacred text as possible, and the need to make this translation from Hebrew or Aramaic fit the linguistic parameters of the target religiolect so that the reader could comprehend the texts. The chapter traces the evolution of this genre, called šarḥ in Judeo-Arabic. It offers a linguistic model for the analysis of the translations of sacred texts, based on scanning the text in descending units of grammatical structure. The chapter concludes with a description of two mechanisms which translators/interpreters, called šarḥanim in Judeo-Arabic, used when performing translations of sacred texts.

Keywords: šarḥ; šarḥanim; Arabic linguistic structure; Jewish religiolects; Judeo-Arabic; sacred texts



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