Adani, Saadiah ben David

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ADANI, SAADIAH BEN DAVID (Sa ʿid ibn Daud , known also as al-Yamanī al-Rabbānī ; 15th century), talmudist. Adani lived in Damascus, Aleppo, and Safed. His works, written in Judeo-Arabic, deal with subjects studied in the Yemenite communities: Midrash, halakhah, and lunar intercalation. Najāt al-Ghāriqīn ("The Salvation of the Drowning") and Zafenat Paneʿaḥ ("Deciphering Mysteries") are aggadic and halakhic commentaries on the Pentateuch and the Sabbath readings from the Prophets. At the request of students Saadiah wrote a commentary on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah. Adani used the form of catechism popular among the Jews of Yemen. He prepared an Arabic calendar entitled al-Jādwalavn which contains a philosophic poem. In his writings, he shows familiarity with the practices of Yemenite Jewry, although he did not live there. It is noteworthy that this 15th century Yemenite scholar could state: "Thank God the belief in shedim ('demons and devils') has ceased, like other superstitions and magical practices. I have enlarged on this matter only because most European Jews and some also in these countries still cling to many preposterous beliefs."


Steinschneider, Arab Lit, 202; S. Assaf, in: ks, 22 (1945/46), 240–4.

[Yehuda Ratzaby]