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Al-Harizi’s Translation of ˙the Guide of the Perplexed in Its Cultural Moment

Al-Harizi’s Translation of ˙the Guide of the Perplexed in Its Cultural Moment

Chapter:
(p.55) 2 Al-Harizi’s Translation of ˙the Guide of the Perplexed in Its Cultural Moment
Source:
Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in Translation
Author(s):
Raymond P. Scheindlin
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226627878.003.0003

The existence of two translations of the Guide of the Perplexed -- by Samuel ibn Tibbon and Judah al-Harizi -- the second completed within nine years of the first, and the two so different from each other, presents an interesting situation that has received only cursory treatment. Ibn Tibbon’s translation of the Guide is considered canonical; al-Ḥarizi’s translation is generally discussed only as a footnote to that of Ibn Tibbon and is always compared with it unfavorably. Not being a specialist in philosophy, I happily concede to the consensus that al-Ḥarizi’s translation is philosophically less reliable than that of Ibn Tibbon. The purpose of this essay is to examine al-Ḥarizi’s translation as a literary object in its own right. Comparisons with Ibn Tibbon’s translation are unavoidable, but I would like to understand al-Ḥarizi’s work as a phenomenon in the history of Hebrew writing and as representative of a particular moment in the history of Jewish culture.

Keywords:   Ibn Tibbon, al-Harizi, Maimonides, Hebrew translations, Guide of the Perplexed

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