SOLOMON BEN JEROHAM (Arabic name, Sulaim ibn Ruḥaim):

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Karaite exegete and controversialist; flourished at Jerusalem between 940 and 960. He was considered one of the greatest authorities among the Karaites, by whom he is called "the Wise" ("ha-Hakam"), and who mention him after Benjamin Nahawendi in their prayers for their dead great teachers (Karaite Siddur, i. 137b). Like all the Karaite leaders, Solomon was a zealous propagandist; and in his polemics against the Rabbinites he displayed, more than any of his predecessors, that partizanship and spirit of intolerance which became the characteristic feature of the later Karaitic literature. In a work entitled "Milḥamot Adonai," of which he produced also an Arabic version that is no longer in existence, Solomon violently attacks the Rabbinites, especially Saadia, to whom he applies many derogatory epithets. It is written in verse and is divided into nineteen chapters, each of which contains twenty-two four-lined strophes. After having endeavored in the first two chapters to demonstrate the groundlessness of the oral tradition, he refutes the seven arguments advanced in its behalf by Saadia in the introduction to his commentary on the Pentateuch. Then he criticizes Saadia's views on the Jewish calendar, the laws concerning incest, the celebration of the second days of the feasts, etc., and accuses him in the harshest of terms of having, in his polemics against the Karaites, used arguments which are in direct opposition to the teachings of the Mishnah and the Talmud, and which consequently he must have known to be false. The "Milḥamot Adonai" is extant in manuscript in various European libraries; and parts of it have been published by Pinsker, Geiger, and Kirchheim.

His Polemical Works.

The same spirit of intolerance and partizanship prevails in Solomon's Bible commentaries. He never failed to seize an opportunity of abusing the Rabbinites and their representative, Saadia. His commentary on the Psalms breathes a deep hatred of all foreign nations; and he repeatedly denounces the study of secular subjects. He would not allow the Karaites to study even foreign languages, still less philosophical works. The theories of Euclid and Ptolemy were, in his opinion, contrary to the teachings of the Law. Of his Bible commentaries, which were written in Arabic, only one, that on Lamentations, finished in 955 or 956, has been published (by Solomon Feinstein, Cracow, 1898); most of the others remain in manuscript: on Canticles (Brit. Mus. Hebr. MS. No. 308); on Ruth (St. Petersburg, Firkovich collection, No. 583); on Esther (ib. Nos. 583, 584); on Ecclesiastes (ib. No. 359; Brit. Mus. Or. No. 2517; the beginning and ch. ii., vii., and ix. were published by Hirschfeld in his "Arabic Chrestomathy," pp. 103-108); on Psalms (St. Petersburg, Firkovich collection, Nos. 555, 556, and 557). Solomon quotes commentaries of his on Daniel, Job, and Proverbs which are no longer in existence, and promises to write one on the Pentateuch. He cites also his "Katab al-Rudd 'ala al-Fayyumi," which is probably the Arabic version of the "Milḥamot Adonai"; "Ḥuruf al-Abdal," on the letters of permutation; and a writing on the advantages of the priests; he furthermore promises to prepare an essay on the resurrection. He also translated into Arabic and commented upon the Karaite prayers (St. Petersburg, Firkovich collection, No. 638), and was the author of a composition entitled "Ḥibbur," which is believed to have been of a liturgical character.

  • Pinsker, Liḳḳuṭe Ḳadmoniyyot, p. 130, and index;
  • Fürst, Gesch. des Karäerthums, ii. 75 et seq.;
  • Gottlober, Biḳḳoret le-Toledot ha-Ḳara'im, p. 196;
  • Neubauer, Aus der Petersburger Bibliothek, p. 10;
  • P. Frankl, in Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. xix. 93;
  • idem, in Ha-Shaḥar, viii.;
  • Kirchheim, in Orient, Lit. vii. 17 et seq.;
  • Salfeld, Hohelied, p. 127;
  • Steinschneider, Polemische Literatur der Juden, p. 378;
  • idem, Hebr. Bibl. vii. 14, xiii. 103;
  • idem, Hebr. Uebers. p. 946;
  • idem, Die Arabische Literatur der Juden, § 40;
  • S. Poznanski, in R. E. J. xli. 310;
  • idem, in J. Q. R. xiii. 336;
  • idem, in Monatsschrift, xliv. 105 et seq.
K. I. Br.
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