CHAPTER 1--The Creation of Adam and Eve. The Fall. Birth of Cain and Abel. Abel a Keeper of Sheep. Cain a Tiller of the Soil. The Quarrel Between the Brothers and the Result. Cain, the First Murderer, Cursed of God.
BOOK OF JASHER (BIBLICAL REFERENCES)
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The Book of Jasher (also, Jashar) or Book of the Just Man (Hebrew sēfer ha yāšār ספר הישר) is an unknown book mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The translation "Book of the Just Man" is the traditional Greek and Latin translation, while the rendering a personal name "Jasher" is found in the King James Bible, 1611.
The book appears to date from after the reign of David. 2 Samuel 1:18 states:
To teach the Sons of Judah the use of the bow; behold it is written in the Book of the Upright (Sēper haiYāšār).
David's lament for Jonathan immediately follows.
The Book of Joshua 10:13 states: And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of the Upright (Sēper haiYāšār)?
The presence of this event in a book of poetry has been interpreted as a poetic description of the prolonged battle.
The Septuagint translation renders sefer hayashar in both cases as 'Book of the Just'. The reference to the bow is here missing so that the text reads: And he gave orders to teach it the sons of Iouda: behold it is written in the Book of the Just.
According to the Medieval Jewish scholar, Rashi, Sefer HaYashar refers to the Pentateuch, as a fulfillment of Jacob's prophecy regarding Ephraim "His seed [of Ephraim] will fill the nations." (Gen. 48:19) that this refer's to Joshua's renown after the miracle of the standing of the sun
SEFER HAYASHAR (MIDRASH)
The Sefer haYashar (first edition 1552) is a Hebrew midrash also known as the Toledot Adam and Dibre ha-Yamim be-'Aruk. The Hebrew title may be translated Sefer haYashar "Book of the Upright Man," but it is known in English translation mostly as The Book of Jasher following English tradition. The book is named after the Book of Jasher mentioned in Joshua and 2 Samuel.
This is among several texts purporting to be the original "Book of Jasher." The text is not accepted as such in rabbinical Judaism.
The earliest authenticated verified version of this Hebrew midrash was printed in Venice in 1625 and the introduction refers to an earlier 1552 "edition" in Naples of which neither trace or other mention has been found. The printer Joseph ben Samuel claimed the work was copied by a scribe named Jacob the son of Atyah from an ancient manuscript whose letters could hardly be made out.
This work is not to be confused with an ethical text by the same name, which, according to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 14, p. 1099, was "probably written in the 13th century." Scholars have proposed various dates between the 9th century and 16th century.
The Venice 1625 text was heavily criticised as a forgery by Leon Modena as part of his criticisms of the Zohar as a forgery and Kabbalah in general. Modena was a member of the Venetian rabbinate which supervised the Hebrew press in Venice, and Modena prevented the printers from identifying Sefer ha-Yashar with the Biblical lost book.
Despite Modena's intervention the preface to the 1625 version nevertheless still claims that its original source book came from the ruins of Jerusalem in AD 70, where a Roman officer named Sidrus discovered a Hebrew scholar hiding in a hidden library. The officer Sidrus reportedly took the scholar and all the books safely back to his estates in Seville, Spain (which in Roman times was known as Hispalis, the provincial capital of Hispania Baetica). The 1625 edition then claims that at some uncertain point in history of Islamic Spain) the manuscript was transferred or sold to the Jewish college in Cordova, Spain. The 1625 edition claims that scholars preserved the book until its printings in Naples in 1552 and in Venice in 1625. Although outside of the preface to the 1625 work, there is no evidence to support any of this story. The work was used extensively but not especially more than many other sources in Louis Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews.
Although there remains doubt about whether the 1552 "edition" in Naples was ever truly printed, the study of Joseph Dan professor of Kabbalah at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the preface to his 1986 critical edition of the 1625 text concludes, from the Hebrew used and other indications, that the work was in fact written in Naples in the early sixteenth century. The Arabic connections suggest that if the preface to the 1625 version is an "exaggeration", it was then probably written by a Jew who lived in Spain or southern Italy.