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The Literary-Historical Approach of Yefet Ben ‘Eli the Karaite in His Commentary of the Book of Amos

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This article gives an overview of the exegetical approaches in Yefet’s biblical commentaries, especially his literary-historical approach as a central component of Yefet’s commentary on the Book of Amos. Yefet espouses an essentially historical approach to the biblical text; evident both by his deductions of the nature of society, and by dating the events mentioned in the book, based on biblical “evidence” taken from references to other biblical texts. He treats these events as developing narratives using both literary and historical tools. This approach guides his interpretations and helps him to determine whether metaphorical or literal interpretation is most appropriate.

* This article is based on my doctoral thesis: Yefet Ben ‘Eli’s Commentary on the Book of Amos: A Critical Edition of Chapters 1–4 with Hebrew Translation, Introduction, and Notes, written under the guidance of Prof. Eliezer Schlossberg and Prof. David Doron of Bar-Ilan University (PhD diss., Bar-Ilan University, 2009). This publication was prepared within the framework of the DFG-DIP project Biblia Arabica: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims (Project Initiators: Camilla Adang, Meira Polliack, and Sabine Schmidtke).

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