Literary text: T-S NS 298.6 + ENA 4012.1 + BL OR 5552.4–4a

Literary text T-S NS 298.6 + ENA 4012.1 + BL OR 5552.4–4a



Polemic against the house of the exilarch. Dating: 1040–41 CE. After a disagreement between Kafnai, Bustanay's father, and his father in law, the head of the Yeshiva, the entire family of the exilarch dies (and King David appears to the head of the Yeshiva in a dream). Bustanay is only surviving descendant of King David. The head of the Yeshiva raises him and occupies his place among the elders of Baghdad, but refuses to cede the position when Bustanay turns 16. The case comes before the caliph ʿUmar Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, who is impressed that Bustanay does not flinch when a mosquito bites him. The caliph appoints Bustanay as exilarch and marries him to a daughter of the King of Persia, who had been captured in battle. She bears children to Bustanay but is never manumitted and never converts to Judaism. The point of the polemic: all the descendants of Bustanay are compromised, and the true house of King David will be revealed only in messianic times. (Information from Gil, Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 4) Join: Moshe Gil. In the hand of Sahlān b. Avraham (per Gil, Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 4), copied in the following circumstance: Daniʾel b. ʿAzarya, who was a nasi (from the house of the exilarch), had arrived from Iraq in Palestine and supported the gaonate of Shelomo b. Yehuda. Followers of the rival gaʾon, Natan b. Avraham, including members of the Iraqi congregation in Fustat, among them Sahlān b. Avraham, cast aspersions on Danʾiel b. ʿAzarya presumably also against Shelomo b. Yehuda. (Rustow, Heresy, 314) For a parallel text, see PGPID 35180.

T-S NS 298.6 1r




T-S NS 298.6 1v

Image Permissions Statement
  • T-S NS 298.6: Provided by Cambridge University Library. Zooming image © Cambridge University Library, All rights reserved. This image may be used in accord with fair use and fair dealing provisions, including teaching and research. If you wish to reproduce it within publications or on the public web, please contact