Saadia ben Joseph al-Fayumi

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Saadia ben Joseph al-Fayumi

(sä`dēä, äl-fīyo͞o`mē), 882–942, Jewish scholar, b. Egypt. He was known as Saadia Gaon. He was the head of the great Jewish Academy at Sura, Babylonia, which under his leadership became the highest seat of Jewish learning, and a vigorous opponent of the KaraitesKaraites
or Caraites
, form of Judaism, reputedly founded (8th cent.) in Persia by Anan ben David and originally known as Ananites. Its adherents were called Karaites after the 9th cent.
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. Saadia's Book of Language laid the foundation of Hebrew grammar; he also wrote a Hebrew dictionary, the Agron, and made an Arabic translation of the Old Testament that became the standard version for all Arabic-speaking Jews and exerted an important influence upon Muslims as well. He also compiled the first comprehensive siddur (daily prayerbook). His great philosophical work is The Book of Beliefs and Opinions (tr. Samuel Rosenblatt, 1948). Writing in a period of spiritual doubt and confusion, Saadia attempts in this work to defend Jewish religious faith on the basis of rational argument, using the methods of Islamic speculative theology known as kalam. The first defense of Judaism in rational terms, Saadia's work laid the basis for all subsequent Jewish philosophy.

Bibliography

See S. L. Skoss, Saadia Gaon, the Earliest Hebrew Grammarian (1955); H. Malter, Saadia Gaon: His Life and Works (1926, repr. 1969); I. Efros, Studies in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (1974).

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The attempt at the end of the book to link Saadia Gaon and Maimonides on the one hand, and the Jews and Jewish scholars of Yemen, on the other hand, within the context discussed in the book, is nice but weak.
Onkelos, Saadia Gaon, Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Sforno all interpret the phrase as meaning "from Damascus", despite the difficult Hebrew.
The Book of Conviviality in Exile (Kitab Al-Inas Bi-'L-Jalwa): The Judaeo-Arabic Translation and Commentary of Saadia Gaon on the Book of Esther
It is as though the Egyptian Saadia Gaon (882-9-12).
Maimonides figures especially prominently though I will refer to other thinkers, such as Saadia Gaon and Bahya ibn Pakuda, who are also important.
This literature, which emerged from a profound dialogue with Islam and was influenced by Islamic thinkers, includes amongst others, the writings of Rabbi Saadia Gaon, Maimonides, Rabbi Bachaya Ibn Pakuda and Rabbi Yehuda Halevy and has been a foundation stone of Jewish culture to the present day.
The career of Saadia Gaon (882-942), head of the Jewish community in Baghdad, marks the beginning of this tradition.
Saadia Gaon, the Spanish linguists and the Ba'alei Masorah in chronological order, with forthcoming volumes to represent others.
On the African continent especially it is important for us to read the lessons of the encounter between Islam and Greek and Hellenistic thought, which meant philosophy was written in Arabic by Al Kindi and Saadia Gaon, Al Farabi and Ibn Sina, Al Ghazali, Maimonides and Ibn Rushd.
Although Judaism hosts many o pinions regarding the proper conditions and worth of these types of encounters, one can identify a clear strain within the tradition, crystallized in the thought of great Jewish thinkers such as Saadia Gaon and Samson Raphael Hirsch, that applauds these types of encounters insofar as they work in the service of enhancing Torah.
Saadia Gaon, (10) Rashi, Malbim and the Da'at Mikra commentary.