The brilliant Karaite Bible commentator, Salmon ben Yeruham (10th century), wrote a devastating criticism of Rabbanite Judaism in his book Sefer Milhamot YHWH ("The Book of the Wars of YHWH"). Salmon directed his polemic against Rabbanism in general and the Rabbanite leader Sa'adiah al-Fayyumi (known in Rabbanite circles as Rav Sa'adiah Gaon) in particular. In the three chapters presented below Salmon tears down the main pillars of Rabbanism and the "Oral Law".
Sa'adiah Gaon was Salmon's older contemporary and was notorious for his vicious writings against Karaism. Salmon repeatedly rejects the arguments of an unnamed foe with such formulas as "He says", "You say", etc. This unnamed opponent was none other than Sa'adiah Gaon who is also called by Salmon "The Fayyumite" (since Sa'adiah was from the Egyptian town of Fayyum), "The Blackguard", and "A man devoid of a good heart". Salmon had a detailed knowledge of Sa'adiah's infamous anti-Karaite writings and towards the end of the third chapter he systematically refutes the seven arguments presented in Sa'adiah's "Commentary on Genesis".
"The Book of the Wars of YHWH" is written as a series of acrostic poems, with the opening letters of each stanza forming, in sequence, the Hebrew Alphabet (i.e. the first stanza opens with Aleph, the second stanza opens with Bet, etc.). Salmon alternates between acrostics which start at the beginning of the Alphabet (Aleph) and work their way to the end (Tav) and those which start at the end of the Alphabet and work their way to the beginning. Salmon tells us that he wrote his work both in Hebrew and Arabic, although only the Hebrew version has survived.
To date only the first three chapters of "The Book of the Wars of YHWH" have been translated into English. The rest of the book deals with various points of Rabbanite law, laying special emphasis on the corrupt Rabbanite calendrical practices and their blasphemous personification of God. The table of contents of "Wars of YHWH" is as follows [based on the chapter headings given by Davidson p.X]:
Wars of YHWH - Table of Contents
"The Book of the Wars of YHWH" remained in manuscript until it was published together with a commentary by Israel Davidson under the title "The Books of the Wars of the Lord", New York 1934 (Hebrew). The present translation of the first three chapters of "The Book of the Wars of YHWH" were rendered into English by Leon Nemoy in his book "Karaite Anthology", Yale University Press 1952, pp.71-82 (Buy the Book from Amazon.com!) [square brackets added by Nehemia Gordon].