‘He said that the manna is that called taranjebin’: Ibn Ezra against Hiwi al-Balkhi’s interpretation of the biblical story of the manna

HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies

Field Value
Title ‘He said that the manna is that called taranjebin’: Ibn Ezra against Hiwi al-Balkhi’s interpretation of the biblical story of the manna
Creator Shemesh, Abraham O.
Subject History; Bible; Cultural Studies Bible; miracle; manna; taranjebin; Abraham Ibn Ezra; Hiwi al-Balkhi; Khorasan; Sinai Desert; Alhagi maurorum; gaz angebin
Description The biblical story on the miracle of the manna in the Sinai Desert aroused many discussions and interpretations over the generations. The current study focuses on Ibn Ezra’s controversy with Hiwi al-Balkhi on the question of whether the manna was a natural or miraculous phenomenon. The article explores the claims of the two sides in light of the historical evidence and the literature describing the phenomenon of ‘falling manna’ in various areas of the Sinai Desert and Eastern countries. According to Hiwi, the manna that rained down on the Israelites is taranjebin, a semi-liquid resinous sweet secretion of insects (honeydew) that exudes onto plants. Ibn Ezra deals with Hiwi’s claims through a series of refutations and arguments. He argues that the characteristics of the taranjebin do not fit the description of the biblical manna. For example, it does not come down in the Sinai Desert, it appears during a limited season, does not melt in the sun and does not rot during the night, and serves as a medicine rather than as food.Contribution: This article contributes to the understanding of Hiwi al-Balkhi’s identification of the biblical manna as honeydew and Ibn Ezra’s claims against his thesis. It expounds the commentators’ interpretations from a multidisciplinary perspective, such as the reality of harvesting the taranjebin in Iran and North Africa and its uses as food and medicine in the medieval culture.
Publisher AOSIS
Date 2021-02-26
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Historical Inquiry
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/hts.v77i4.6342
Source HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 77, No 4 (2021); 8 pages 2072-8050 0259-9422
Language eng
Relation https://hts.org.za/index.php/hts/article/view/6342/17264 https://hts.org.za/index.php/hts/article/view/6342/17263 https://hts.org.za/index.php/hts/article/view/6342/17265 https://hts.org.za/index.php/hts/article/view/6342/17262
Coverage Middle East medieval religios-historical discussion
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Abraham Ofir Shemesh https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0