Bibliotheken Tentoonstellingen Judaica in Leiden

Judaica in Leiden

An exhibition in Leiden University Library at the occasion of the Congress of European Association of Jewish Studies, Amsterdam 21-25 juli 2002.





1295 bytesMahkimat Peti
Tobias ben Moses ha-Avel (11th century). Manuscript on paper, 16th or early 17th century.
Oriental semi-cursive script.
Or. 4779, ff. 103v-104a.
¶ Karaitic compendium of no less than twentythree texts. Tobias ben Moses ha-Avel was a student of Joseph ben Abraham ha-Kohen ‘ha-Ro’eh’, and from 1048, head of the Byzantine Karaite community. Hiswork consists mainly of Hebrew translations of Arabic works of his teacher. Among these is Kitab al-Tamyiz (or al-Mansuri), Book of Enlightenment for
, which is translated with the title Mahkimat Peti
1280 bytes(see also Ps. 19:18). Considering the fact that texts
by Ibn Ezra and Maimonides are included in this codex, the collection reflects the general Karaite interest in Medieval rationalism.
Other works of significance in this codex are:
(1) Sefer Ne`imot, by Josef b. Abraham (Yusuf al-Basir) (11th century).
(5) Hilkhot Shehitah, by Judah Hadassi (12th century).
(9) Arugat ha-Hokhmah u-Fardes ha-Mezimah, probably by Abraham ibn Ezra (1089-1164).
(6) She’elot, by Abu Yusuf Jacob al-Kirkisani (10th century).
(18) Sefer Dinim, by Benjamin b. Moses al-Nahawendi (9th cent.).

1523 bytesGan Eden
Aaron ben Elijah the Younger (1317-1369). Manuscript on paper, probably 14th or 15th century. Oriental semi-cursive script.
Or. 4752, f. 1r.
¶ Important work of the Byzantine Karaite Aaron ben Elijah the Younger of Nicomedia. Steinschneider considered this manuscript to be one of the oldest of the Leiden collection of Karaitica. Aaron ben Elijah produced important works that reveal influence of  Ibn Ezra and Maimonides. Apart from Gan Eden, Aaron ben Elijah wrote Etz Hayyim (1346) and Keter Torah (1362). The former deals with the philosophy of religionand uses similar rational proofs for doctrine of faith as Maimonides does in his Guide. The latter is a commentary on the Pentateuch. Gan Eden was written in 1354 and is concerned with Karaite law. As it is largely based on Levi ben Jafet’s (11th century) Sefer ha-Mitzvot, it became the standard reference for Karaite Halakhah.

1621 bytesSeder Tiqqun ha-Qara’im
The Institutions of the Karaites, an anonymous work on Karaite lore. Manuscript on paper, 1575, Constantinople. Byzantine semi-cursive.
Or. 4763, f. 91v.
¶ Volume with Karaite texts copied by Elijah Rabbenu ben Judah Tishbi. The development of Karaism was characterised by various disputes on the literal interpretation of the Bible. Aaron ben Elijah of Nicomedia (1317-1369) wrote his code Etz Hayyim, which was recognised as authoritative. Later on it was Elijah Bashyazı and his pupil Caleb Afendopolo (1464-1525) who summarised the Karaite creed in ten articles. Among them the fifth says: ‘He sent us the Torah through Moses, which contains the perfect truth, which cannot be complemented or altered by any other (Oral) Law.’
Other texts included in this manuscript are:
(1) Sefer `Arayot, Hebrew translation by Jacob ben Simon of an Arabic text on forbidden marriages and consanguinity by Jeshua ben Jehuda (11th century).
(8) Hilluq ha-Qara’im `im ha-Rabbanim, the controversies between the Karaites and the Rabbanites, Elijah ben Abraham (12th cent.).

1395 bytesZevah Pesah
Moses Bashyazı (first half 16th century). Manuscript on paper, 1575, Constantinople.
Sefardi semi-cursive.
Or. 4743, f. 51r.
¶ Collection of Karaite texts. Another great name in Early Ottoman Karaism is that of Bashyazı(see also Or. 4763). The first important member of this family was Elijah ben Moses who lived in the 15th century. He was the composer of the code Adderet Eliyahu which had great influence on the relaxation of Karaite law and the rapprochement with Rabbanites. Moses Bashyazı, his great-grandson, studied the early Aramaic texts of Anan ben David.
Another rare text fragment in this volume by the same author is:
(4) Sefer `Arayot by Moses Bashyazıon the forbidden degrees of consanguinity.

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