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Convened by Sarah Stroumsa and Ronny Vollandt, on behalf of the Society for Judaeo- Arabic Studies
Organized by Friederike S. Schmidt and Gregor Schwarb.

The emergence of Judaeo-Arabic literature was related to new ways of organizing and transmitting knowledge. The introduction of new disciplines went hand in hand with the development of new teaching methods and textual practices, as well as the adoption of new literary genres and novel concepts of authorship. These changes had begun in the 9th century but developed mainly over the course of the 10th and the 11th centuries. They had a lasting effect on Jewish literature ever since. Disciplines of learning emerged that had no precedent in rabbinic literature, such as lexicography, grammar, literary theory, scriptural exegesis, jurisprudence, theology, and philosophy. They reflected contemporaneous developments in non-Jewish literatures and brought along a host of new technical terms and concepts in Arabic.

We understand genres and disciplines of learning as dynamic structures that are never fixed and static, but continuously interact with the reading public, the social environment, the literary canon, and with other texts.

The Society of Judaeo-Arabic Studies, therefore, invites to the 21st conference of the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies Genres and disciplines of learning in Judaeo-Arabic literature (Munich, 31st of July – 3rd of August 2023), a conference on the nature, development and formation of genres and disciplines of knowledge in Judaeo-Arabic literature.

The conference will take place at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.




Monday, 31st of July

10:00 am – 12:00 am

Walking tour (“Jewish Munich”)


12:00 am – 1:00 pm

Get-together at the Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies (Veterinärstr. 1) plus light lunch


2:00 pm

Venue: Center for Advanced Studies (Seestraße 13)




Transcending Communal Boundaries (I)

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm


Panel I

Chair: Sarah Stroumsa (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Daniel J. Lasker (Ben-Gurion University), Judah Hadassi the Karaite and the Judaeo-Arabic Tradition from the Golden Age

Neri Y. Ariel (French National Centre for Scientific Research), Exploring Interreligious Relations through Adab al-Qāḍī: A Study of the Genre of Training Books for Jurists and Judges

Moshe Lavee and Yoav Phillips (University of Haifa), From Magnifying Glass to Big Data Analysis in Service of Judeo-Arabic – Islamic Culture Scholarship


3:45 pm – 4:00 pm

Coffee break


4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Social History

Panel II

Chair: Elinoar Bareket (Achva Academic College)

Ora Molad-Vaza (Hebrew University Jerusalem), Orphans in the Mediterranean Jewish Society – The Story of the Cairo Geniza Documents

Dotan Arad (Bar-Ilan University), The Mustaʿribs in Egypt in the 16th and 17th Centuries in the Light of New Documents

Amir Mazor (University of Haifa), Islamic Historiography as Polemic Literature: Deconstructing Arabic Biographical Texts Concerning Jewish Converts


6:00 pm


Hans van Ess (Vice President of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität for Research)


Opening Address (Sarah Stroumsa and Ronny Vollandt)


Keynote Lecture

Aharon Maman (Hebrew University Jerusalem / Academy of the Hebrew Language), Genres and sub-genres in the field of Medieval Hebrew and Arabic Philology

followed by reception


Tuesday, 1st of August


Venue: main building of the LMU, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, Senatssaal (E 110, upper floor)


8:30 am – 10:00 am

Linguistic Thought (I)

Panel III

Chair: Aharon Maman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem / Academy of the Hebrew Language)

Daniel Isaac (University of Strasbourg), Adoption of the tri-radical root system among Iberian Exegetes, acceptance and rejection – the case of Ibn Chiquitilla

Ali Watad (Beit Berl College), Ibn al-Kaṯar’s Perception of the Origin of the Language in His Book Šarḥ Im-baquti\bəḥuqūtay

Simon Haffner (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich), Does grammar presuppose writing?


10:00 am – 10:30 am

Coffee break


10:30 am – 12:30 am

Transcending Communal Boundaries (II)

Panel IV

Chair: Paul Fenton (University Paris-Sorbonne)

Ehud Krinis (Ben-Gurion University), The Kuzari and the Islamicate Genre of the Signs of Prophecy

Noya Duanis (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Early Letter Speculations in Kitāb Khawāṣṣ al-Ḥurūf and the Commentary on Sefer Yeṣirah

Nicolas Hintermann (University of Tübingen), Philosophy in the Margins – Marginal Philosophy? The Case of the Bookseller Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-Nihmī

Gideon Bohak (Tel Aviv University), Christian Hagiographa in Jewish Hands: The Life of John of the Golden Gospel


12:30 am – 1:15 pm



1:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Philosophy (I)

Panel V

Chair: Haggai Ben-Shammai (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Paul Fenton (University Paris-Sorbonne), A Fragment of a Mystical-Philosophical Judaeo-Arabic Commentary on the Talmudic ’Aggadōth from the Pietist Circle

David Torollo (Complutense University of Madrid), Unearthing Judeo-Arabic Wisdom Texts


2:15 pm – 2:30 pm

Coffee break


Barak Avirbach (Oranim College), Towards a new edition of Baḥya’s al-Hidāya ilā Farāʾiḍ al-Qulūb

Yair Shifman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, David Yellin College of Education), Falaquera – Averrores’ commentator


4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Guided tour through the Jewish Museum Munich (Sankt-Jakobs-Platz 16)


Wednesday, 2nd of August


Venue: main building of the LMU, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, Senatssaal (E 110, upper floor)


9:00 am – 11:00 am

Philosophy (II)

Panel VI

Chair: Peter Adamson (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

Dong Xiuyuan (Shandong University), Between East and West: Epistemology in Jewish Kalām

Maxim Roozen (Freie Universität Berlin), Yaʿqūb al-Qirqisānī and Saʿadya Gaon on the sources of knowledge

Gideon Libson (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Zefat Academic College), On Knowledge and Perplexity – Why Maimonides called his Philosophical book “The Guide of the Perplexed”

Lenn Goodman (Vanderbilt University), Knowledge and Belief: Maimonides’ Thirteen Articles in the Light of the Guide to the Perplexed


11:00 am – 11:30 am

Coffee break


11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Folk Literature and Poetry

Panel VII

Chair: Zvi Stampfer (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Rachel Hasson (Ben-Gurion University), Ibn Miʿmār’s Judaeo-Arabic poems

Uri Melammed (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Mnemonic Qaṣīdah on the Slaughter and Inspection Laws of R. Abraham bar Yitshaq bar Mevorakh bar Jacob

Miriam Goldstein (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Judeo-Arabic Toledot Yeshu in the Near East and Mediterranean


1:00 pm – 2:30 pm



2:30 pm – 6:00 pm

On Genre and Structure

Panel VIII

Chair: Ofra Tirosh-Becker (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Zvi Stampfer (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), The genre of Introduction in Judaeo-Arabic Judicial works and its origin

Friederike S. Schmidt (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich), The muqaddima in Sahl ben Maṣliaḥ’s commentary on the Pentateuch

Lea Gzella (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich), Front matters: how Ibn Janāḥ used introductions as a means of communication


4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Coffee break


Nadia Vidro (University College London), On the genre of Saadya Gaon’s calendar treatise Kitāb al-Tamyīz

Geoffrey Khan (Cambridge University), The genre of literature represented by the work Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ

David Sklare, The Intellectual and Religious Context of the Early Development of Systematic Judeo-Arabic Biblical Exegesis in the Ninth and Tenth centuries


6:00 pm – 7:00 pm (directly after the last panel)

Meeting of the executive committee


Thursday, 3rd of August


Venue: main building of the LMU, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, Senatssaal (E 110, upper floor)


8:00 am – 9:00 am

General assembly


9:00 am – 10:30 am

Institutions and Texts

Panel IX

Chair: Ronny Vollandt (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

Elinoar Bareket (Achva Academic College), The Jerusalem Yeshiva under Fatimid rule

Nadine Urbiczek (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich), Determined Debaters: Disputations at the Qaraite dār al-ʿilm

Tamar Zewi (University of Haifa), Early Genizah Fragments of Saadya Gaon’s Translation of the Pentateuch: Codices and Scribes


10:30 am – 11:00 am

Coffee break


11:00 am – 12:30 am

Linguistic Thought (II)

Panel X

Chair: Nadia Vidro (University College London)

Elnatan Chen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), On Yitzḥak Ben Barūn’s grammatical thought in light of Dan Becker’s new edition of Kitāb al-Muwāzana

Shlomo Alon (National Academy for Arabic Language, Achva Academic College), R. Moses b. Maimon Responsa in Judeo-Arabic: Using Verbs – Morphology and Glossary

José Martinez Delgado (University of Granada) & Amir Ashur (University of Haifa), The Daily Life of the Jews of Alandalus according to the Cairo Genizah (Cambridge University Collection) 


12:30 am – 1:30 pm



1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Bible Exegesis

Panel XI

Chair: Friederike S. Schmidt (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

Marzena Zawanowska (University of Warsaw, Jewish Historical Institute), A Medieval Religious Meritocracy: Converts in Karaite Bible Exegesis

Meirav Nadler-Akirav (Bar-Ilan University), Samuel’s Dedication to Prophecy – A Study on Yefet ben ʿEli’s Commentary on Samuel 1, 1:3

Zakka Labib (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich), The Structure of Commentaries. A Comparison of Judeo-Arabic and Christian-Arabic Exegesis on the Book of Psalms

Gregor Schwarb (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich), Writing between the genres: Yeshuʿah ben Yehudah’s Book of Covert Ambiguity (Kitāb al-Tawriya) as a ‘hybrid genre’


3:30 pm – 3:45 pm

Coffee break


3:45 pm – 4:30 pm

Wrap-up & farewell



The conference is funded by the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung, the ERC, and the LMU Munich.


With the kind support of


31. July 2023
3. August 2023
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