BANETH , family of scholars. eduard ezekiel baneth (1855–1930), talmudic scholar, was a descendant of the well-known *Banet family of rabbis and scholars. He was born in Liptó-Szent-Miklós (Slovakia). From 1882 to 1895 he served as rabbi at Krotoszyn (near Poznan) and then as lecturer of Talmud at the Lehranstalt fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. In 1919 the Prussian Ministry of Education awarded him the title of professor. Baneth's work was devoted mainly to talmudic and rabbinic literature, the development of halakhah, and the Jewish calendar. Among his published works are Ursprung der Sadokaeer und Boethosaeer (1882); Maimunis Neumondberechnung (4 vols., 1898–1903); Der Sederabend (1904); Avot mit Maimunis arabischem Kommentar (1905); Maimonides als Chronologe und Astronom (1914); Soziale Motive in der rabbinischen Rechtspflege (1922); Bilder talmudischer Ethik (1926); and Der juedische und buergerliche Kalender (1928). Baneth also contributed to the Samter-Hoffmann German translation and commentary of the Mishnah (order of Mo'ed, 19272).
His son david hartwig (zvi; 1893–1973) was an Arabist. Born in Krotoszyn, from 1920 to 1924 he was an assistant at the Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. He then went to Palestine where he was a lecturer at the Hebrew University on Arabic philosophy, language, and literature. From 1946 he was professor of Arabic language and literature. In his earlier years David made important contributions to ancient Aramaic and Canaanite studies, but his life's work consisted in the study of Jewish thought as expressed in Arabic, Arabic as used by Jews, and medieval Hebrew. He wrote on the enigmatic Jewish rationalist *Ibn Kammuna (mgwj, vol. 69, 1925), on the relationship between *Judah Halevi and the Muslim theologian *Ghazali (Korrespondenzblatt, vol. 5, 1929; see also Keneset, vol. 7, 1942), and on the use made by both Ghazali and the Jewish pietist Baḥya ibn Paquda of a passage in a book by a Christian author (Magnes Jubilee Volume, 1938).
Baneth was at his best in the editing and criticism of texts, such as his edition of Maimonides' letters (Iggerot ha-Rambam, 1946), his revisions of Maimonides' Terminology of Logic (edited by L. Roth, 1935) and of the Book of Beatitude, ascribed to Maimonides (prepared for publication by H.S. Davidowitz, 1939), as well as his discussion of the Hebrew translations of Maimonides' treatise on resurrection (Tarbiz, vol. 11, 1939/40, and vol. 13, 1941/42) and of Maimonides' Hebrew usage (Tarbiz, vol. 6, 1934/35 and vol. 23, 1951/52). He published many detailed reviews of Judeo-Arabic works in Kirjath Sepher. Of particular importance are Baneth's studies of the language and contents of the Cairo Genizah documents (cf. S. Shaked, A Tentative Bibliography of Geniza Documents (1964), 268–9). Most of the Arabic Genizah texts published by S. *Assaf were prepared for publication and translated into Hebrew by Baneth. By emphasizing that most deviations from classical Arabic grammar in the Genizah documents were not "mistakes," but represented the living language of the period, Baneth pointed the way for a sound approach to the understanding of those medieval writings.
[Moshe David Herr /
Shelomo Dov Goitein /
Samuel Miklos Stern]