The Karaite Catechism in Brief by Moses Firkowicz: Selected Issues in Light of the Karaite Norms and Reality


Słowa kluczowe:

Karaite literature, Moses Firkowicz, religious laws


Moses Firkowicz (1846–1918) descended from the famous Karaite family of Abraham Firkowicz. His ineage granted him access to many Karaite manuscripts and a natural disposition towards araite literature eventually leading to his appointment as the first director of the first Karaite National Library (Karai Bitikligi). In 1915 he published The Karaite Catechism in Brief (Rus. Караимский катихизис вкратце), a text written in the form of questions and answers which presumably had been used as a resource guide for Karaite life in the Melitopol community. It presents differences found between Karaites and Rabbanite Jews, discusses issues related to the concepts of prayer, worship, calendar of holidays and provides unique insight on Karaite rites of death. This paper will analyze The Karaite Catechism in Brief by Moses Firkowicz in the light of the theoretical laws of ’Adderet ’Eliyyahu by Elijah Bashyatchi and Royal Attire by Mordecai ben Nisan, as well as through cases in the journal The Karaite Life (Rus. Караимская жизнь) and in the archives of the Karaite Spiritual Consistory.