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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Critical Edition and Linguistic Analysis. No part of this series may be reproduced, modified, transmitted and distributed in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise without the prior permission of the editor.

Manuscripts of this type are a unique source of knowledge of the languages used by the Crimean Karaims in the nineteenth century, that is Crimean Karaim and Crimean Turkish.

Most of these manuscripts are unpublished and many are difficult to access. They provide us with infor- mation on popular literature of the Crimean Karaims. The study comprises, in the first instance, a short outline of the religion, history, language and literature of the Crimean Karaims. These introductory chapters precede the critical edition which consists of the transcription of the translated drama with notes and a translation into English. The present publication is a revised version of my doctoral dissertation.

I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Professor Henryk Jankowski, for his guidance during all stages of writing the dissertation and the edition of the present publication.

I am grateful to Professor Marek Stachowski and Professor Piotr Muchowski for their valuable comments communicated in reviews, which enabled me to improve many aspects of this study. Last but not least, I would like to thank Mr. David- Viktor Tiriaki, the hazzan of Eupatoria Karaim congregation, for making the manuscript accessible for research. A first step in the study was to determine the contents of the manuscript, their genres, authors and origin. Then I pro- ceeded to set up the direction of the research.

I decided to critically edit a drama which constitutes the core of the manuscript. To this purpose, I cor- rected the mistakes made by the copyist and the author. The drama was translated into Crimean Karaite Turkic by Abraham ben YaSHaR Lutski in the first half of the nineteenth century and copied in a mejuma of Samuel Kohen in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Af- ter establishing the source text of the play, I compared the Turkic translation with the Hebrew original drama in order to determine whether the transla- tion was exact and complete. I prepared a transcription of the drama preserved in the manuscript, which I complemented with footnotes in order to provide information on the features of the spelling and the language as well as references to the original drama in Hebrew.

I analyzed the characteristic linguistic features of the language of the drama and performed a thorough analysis of its vocabu- lary. Thereafter, the transcribed Turkic text was translated into English.

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For the parts of the text which were written with errors by the copyist and for the sentences the reading of which was tentative, therefore making a correct translation into English impossible, I referred to the relevant fragments of the Hebrew drama. I have enclosed respective Hebrew phrases in footnotes to equip future researchers with an independent comparison. The transla- tion into Turkic strictly follows the original Hebrew text. Therefore a thor- ough reading of Hebrew phrases, which are the counterparts of tentative or unclear Turkic ones, enabled me to perform a complete transcription and translation with only a few illegible words and phrases.

Furthermore, I have given a de- scription tesbiyat the manuscript, outlined the plot of the drama and elaborated on Byyk Lutski, the author of the translation. Subsequently, I provided a list of the titles of ten folk songs which appear at the end the manuscript after the text of the drama. I bky the songs with those known from the pre- viously published mejumas.

The songs and their language are not unique and they are not related to the drama, thus I refrained from including their tran- scription in this study.

In the following section, I focused on a comparison of the translation of the drama preserved in the Karaim manuscript and the original Hebrew drama. Tsebihat have enclosed samples of both texts with a word- for-word translation into English in order to demonstrate similarities and differences between them.


Lastly, I by, a linguistic analysis of the language of the manuscript focusing on its characteristic features. This lan- guage may tesbihxt described as a literary variety of vernacular Crimean Turkish with an admixture of Crimean Tatar used by Karaims.

By no means should it be identified with the spoken variety of Crimean Karaim. Tesbuhat, it possesses some characteristic features which distinguish it from contempo- rary Crimean Turkish and Crimean Tatar. Moreover, I specified the features that distin- guish it from other Crimean languages, and thus constitute a distinctive Cri- mean Karaim substrate. The language of the previously edited Crimean Karaim manuscripts is not homogeneous, partially due to the fact that they were copied in different locations, nonetheless I observed numerous similar- ities between them.

Particularly, the comparison of vocabulary against other mejumas reveals a considerable degree of affinity. A follower of Karaism bhk study the Tanakh that is the Old Testament in an independent manner and should not rely on other canonical works, such as the Talmud. Adherents of Karaism believe that the Torah should be regarded as the only and complete source of religious knowledge, thus any additional commentary, namely the Oral Law respected by the Rabbanites, was consid- ered redundant.

Thus, it was forced to find a response to Karaite sectarians and this resulted in an outburst of Rabbanite literary activity and prompted the standardization of Rabbanite halakhah. Karaism developed under the influence of of Islam which affected it from the very beginning. One of the scholars and philoso- phers of Karaism, Anan,3 wished to separate the doctrine from the tradition of the Talmud and referred to Muslim law and philosophy.

As a result of 1 My aim is not to elaborate on the doctrine of Karaism here. This section solely discusses a few important aspects of tezbihat of the Crimean Karaims.

For further information on Karaism, see respective sections in Astren This being said, it is acknowledged that the basic principles of the Karaites were shared by Ananites and that Karaism was influenced by the teachings of Anan Schur As provided by Kizilov Although the first prominent scholars of Karaism, such as Benjamin ben Moses al-Nahawendi, resided in Babylonia, the actual peak of Karaite reli- gious and scholarly activity took place after a shift of the Karaite spiritual center to Jerusalem.

The return to Palestine was one of the principal goals of early Karaites.


Here, they were able to establish their own administration, a Karaite answer to the Rabbanite Exilarchate in Babylonia Ankori According to Ankori The Crusader conquests of the twelfth century brought about a radical change and by the thirteenth century the center of Karaite intellectual activity shifted to a new Christian environment on the shores of the Marmara Sea Astren Heirs of the sectarians who had moved to Constantinople formed a new community, which did not lose ties with their southern Karaite brethren as well as with the Rabbanite inhabitants of the Byzantine capital.

For many bbyk the Karaites and the Rabbanites were living side by side in Pera, a European district of the Byzantine capital. Moreover, they vyk each other as brothers in faith. Relations between the two commu- nities had been strained since the emergence of Karaism; however they ap- parently softened during the sixteenth century in Istanbul.

I should note that these amicable relations came to an end at the beginning of the seventeenth century as a result of a dispute over the payment of tax Danon In the contemporary scholarly debate we encounter two terms which de- note adherents of Karaism. Though ini- tially Greek-speaking, this group used a Turkic language as the means of 4 Danon The religion was and still is the first and the most important means of determining the identity of this mi- nority.

Not later than at the end of the thirteenth century7 Karaims inhabited a land occupied mainly by Turkic peoples, i. tebihat


It is true also for those of the Crimean Karaims who left the Crimea in search of better pro- spects by Russia and stopped using Turkic as the means of communication. They established their tesbihta as Karaim based on their religious beliefs Jankowski a: I shall return to this issue in the following section.

However, there are still some issues which remain questionable. It refers to the Land of Kedar contemporary Ukraine and describes a Jewish minority who had lived there and had not read or even heard of the Talmud.

According to Mann The first reliable record10 of the presence of Karaims in the Crimea indicates the end of the thirteenth century Harviainen a: Re-establishment of religious institu- tions is not likely after tesbihatt than seventy years of forced secularization. According to Danon The Crimean Karaims 15 There are no solid documents which would enable scholars to deter- mine an exact tesbihhat of the appearance of people confessing Karaism prior to that date.

This theo- ry remains only speculative, as there is not enough scientific evidence to prove it. This tesvihat distinguishes it from Karaim, which shows no Bulgar features Jankowski a: Furthermore, the assump- tion made by Karaim scholars that the Khazars professed Karaism is not supported by any document.

The religion was probably brought by Tesbihaf Karaites who came to the Crimea from Constantinople, which was a major Karaite center in the last centuries of Middle Ages. In his opus magnum Ankori It was the immigration of Karaite men of letters from Byzantium, which must have tesbijat later, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, which triggered the development of the Crimean Karaim community.

The lack of such references contradicts the thesis that it was the Karaite religion that was professed by the Khazars. For further reading on this and alternative theories on the appearance of Karaims in the Cri- mea, see Harviainen a: Howev- er, I should note that according to Jankowski b: He argued that Karaims must have shifted to a Turkic language of the Kipchak type at least one hundred years before the appearance of Codex Cumanicus, that is at least at the beginning of the thirteenth century.


Chufut Qale became the sec- ond capital at the end of the fourteenth century. Chufut Qale reached its high-point in the eighteenth century when it became the biggest Karaim center in Europe Shapira c: After the move to Lithuania the Karaim community did not lose contact with their Crimean brethren.

On the contrary, the communities continued to cor- respond. Furthermore, Karaim scholars and religious leaders moved to and from the Crimea and traveled to Istanbul and further south to the holy land, to Jerusalem. The contacts were not only of the spiritual kind; the wealthier Crimean community supported the diminishing Karaim minorities in Istan- bul and Jerusalem financially Mann In the field of education the Crimean Karaims were under the tesbkhat of the Polish-Lithuanian scholars who came to the Crimea and held educational positions e.

Moreover, the Crimean Karaims traveled to the Karaim community in Istan- bul to learn from their sages Akhiezer The Russian annexation of the Crimea marked a turning point for the Karaims. The political leadership of the Crimean Karaim community fell into the hands of the richest merchant, namely Bky Babovich Miller Under the Russian rule the level of education among the Crimean 16 As Shapira a: These cir- cumstances were unheard of in other countries inhabited by the Karaites.

The Crimean Karaims 17 Karaims diminished and Karaim scholars and spiritual leaders lost their prior significance.

Although, as argued by Aqtay