Fußspuren eines gaonäischen Midrasch zu Hiob (32:11) in Samuel b. Ḥofnis neu entdecktem Fragment (CUL T-S Ar. 46.156) – Kitāb lawāzim al-Ḥukkām
It is well established in research that the earlier sages (“Kadmonim” as well as “Rishonim”) had a broader access to Midrash sources than in modern times, due to changes in the forms of transmission of Jewish traditions. Since the 19th century, scholars have discovered and published fragments of Midrash literature, among other genres, from various recovered sources. Similar rediscoveries have also been made by scholars regarding the Geonim from Babylonia. The Geonic Age spanned the seventh to eleventh centuries in Babylonia. Whereas the early Geonic corpus was composed of collective oral traditions, the successors of Se’adya Gaon (882–942) specialized in the composition of individual halakhic codices. Known as “late monographic works,” the judges’ duties subgenre is the adjudicational and jurisprudential climax of this monographic genre. A fragment from the Cairo Genizah (CUL T-S Ar. 46.156) seems to match what is known to us as the introduction of the almost entirely lost Kitāb lawāzim al-ḥukkām by Samuel ben Ḥofni Gaon (d. 1013). From the Midrash traditions to Job, hardly anything has survived in the sources known to us. In this paper I would like to suggest that this introduction includes several remarks that could be remnants of a lost Misdrash to the book of Job, a biblical book that left almost no Rabbinic tradition behind. With the Genizah fragment presented here, it is suggested that the Geonim either had a midrash to Job that is unknown today; alternatively, they could have created such a midrash themselves - which was not unusual at the time, as scholars have recently elaborated. A third possibility could be the combination of these two literary components: The Geonim had earlier Midrash sources on Job, which they developed further, translated into Judeo-Arabic and adapted to the contemporary Zeitgeist.