several noted Ge'onic and Rishonic philosophical works were written in Arabic, including R' Sa'adia Ga'on's Emunot V'Deot, Rabbeinu Bachya's Chovot HaLevavot, and the Rambam's More Nevuchim. However, to make these works more accessible, they were often translated into Hebrew, which also serves as the basis for many subsequent translations.

Are there any English translations of major Judæo-Arabic works which rely on the original Arabic, rather than subsequent Hebrew renditions?


2 Answers 2


Actually, the standard English translations of all of the books you mentioned were done from the Arabic, not from a Hebrew intermediary: Rosenblatt's Book of Beliefs and Opinions, Pines' Guide of the Perplexed, Mansoor's Book of Direction to the Duties of the Heart.

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    plus Altmann's (condensed) translation of Rasag, Friedlander's translation of the Guide, Hirschfeld's translation of Kuzari... Apparently there is also a new translation of the Guide in the works, as well as the long awaited translation of the Kuzari by Berman and Kogan
    – wfb
    Jan 29, 2016 at 15:26

Rabbi Wincelberg translated Rabbenu Avraham ben HaRambam's Kifayet al-Abidin (HaMaspik L'Ovdey Hashem) into English under the title The Guide to Serving God. According to his introduction it is the best translation of the Arabic.

  • According to his own intro, his own translation is best?
    – msh210
    Jan 29, 2016 at 4:00
  • @msh210 Yes. Being that I am not proficient in medieval Judeo-Arabic, I have no ability to critically examine the claim. However, this is really tangential since the OP asked for translations from Arabic to English. The Wincelberg translation qualifies, whether or not we accept his claim regarding the value of the translation. It just so happens that someone I know who is proficient in medieval Judeo-Arabic, confirmed that the Wincelberg translation is by far the best translation currently available of the Arabic text into any language.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 29, 2016 at 4:15
  • @mevaqesh i thought that according to the introduction he mostly translated from the Hebrew translation and only occasionally tried his hand at the Judeo Arabic
    – Aaron
    Jan 29, 2016 at 18:11
  • @Aaron No. Originally he went through the Hebrew, but eventually he went through the whole Judeo-Srabic, and had Rabbi Miller; a native Algerian, who formally studied classical Arabic check each chapter.I repeat that someone proficient in medieval Judeo-Arabic, who learned the Kefayet al-Abidin in the original, told me that Wincelberg's is currently the best translation.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 29, 2016 at 18:35

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