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3 - Textual Traditions

from 1 - Texts and Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2009

Steven Nadler
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
T. M. Rudavsky
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
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Summary

The history of the textual traditions of the philosophical works written down in two different languages (either in Judeo–Arabic or in Hebrew) by medieval Jewish authors active in the near east (mainly in Iraq and Egypt) and in the Mediterranean area (mainly in Spain, Provence, and Italy) during the Middle Ages, from circa 800 to 1500, appears to have been much complicated by various factors, and different aspects of it have to be considered.

Obviously, a detailed study of the handwritten tradition of the original texts of these works is very relevant for a correct philological reconstruction of those texts. Among the most important problems to be solved by scholars of medieval Jewish philosophy, in particular if they are planning a critical edition or a faithful modern translation of one of these texts, is the existence of a lesser or greater number of manuscripts, or at least handwritten fragments, of the original of that text. The language chosen by the authors of the texts was of some importance for their tradition and further diffusion, in particular in Europe during the late Middle Ages (thirteenth–fifteenth centuries) – the period when most of the extant manuscripts were copied, read, and preserved. Some of these texts were originally written in Judeo–Arabic – in reality, a form of Arabic, whose grammatical and syntactical rules, and most of its technical terms, are not substantially different from those of medieval Arabo–Islamic philosophical works.

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The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy
From Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century
, pp. 60 - 87
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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