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5. The Jewish Calendar Controversy of 921–22: Reconstructing the Manuscripts and their Transmission History

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Chapter Summary

The Iraqi calendar and its 'four gates' are known from works on the Jewish calendar from the early twelfth century onwards to have become the dominant rabbinic calendar calculation in all parts of the Jewish world, and it corresponds to how the Jewish calendar is universally reckoned today. The Donnolo manuscript demonstrates that a full generation after the Calendar Controversy, the Jews of southern Italy still maintained a different calendar from the Iraqi one. One of the manuscripts reconstructed contains the copy of an early letter of Ben Me͗ir. The manuscript comprises two parchment bifolios, plus several single folios (also at the Bodleian). One manuscript contains several letters of Saʿadya to his followers in Fustat, in Judeo-Arabic and Hebrew. The textual evidence reconstructed so far points to the possibility that the texts were transmitted widely over the course of the subsequent two centuries.

Keywords: Ben Me͗ir; Hebrew; Jewish calendar controversy; Saʿadya



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