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Full Access Vestiges of Qaraite Translations in the Arabic Translation(s) of the Samaritan Pentateuch

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Vestiges of Qaraite Translations in the Arabic Translation(s) of the Samaritan Pentateuch

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This article examines various types of evidence that might corroborate or confound a direct influence of Qaraite Arabic translations of the Pentateuch on Arabic translations of the Samaritan Pentateuch. This question has barely been addressed in previous research. In a first step I will summarise the little we know about the emergence of the earliest Arabic translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch and adduce four reasons to explain why the influence of Qaraite translations has not been considered so far and why some scholars argued for a strong, even though well-camouflaged influence of Saʿadyah Gaon’s Tafsīr on the earliest versions of the Samaritan translation. In a second step I will highlight a few instances of literary contacts between Qaraites and Samaritans during the 11th through 13th centuries which might strengthen the case for a Qaraite influence on Samaritan translations. Thirdly, I will pick out some distinguishing features of the Old Arabic Translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch (OATSP) as laid down in previous studies and compare them with the primary features of Qaraite Arabic translations. A synoptic presentation of Gen 24:1–34 and some other texts in Samaritan and Qaraite translations and Saʿadyah’s Tafsīr will help to illustrate the relationship between these translation traditions and to reach some preliminary and tentative conclusions.

Affiliations: 1: Research Unit Intellectual History of the Islamicate World, Freie Universität Berlin


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