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Bozecco (Bozecchi), Benjamin ben Judah

BOZECCO (Bozecchi), BENJAMIN BEN JUDAH

BOZECCO (Bozecchi), BENJAMIN BEN JUDAH (1290–1335), Italian grammarian and biblical exegete, who lived in Rome. His name probably derived from the town Buzecchio in the district of Forli, Italy, from which his family came. In one of his poems *Immanuel of Rome praises him as "the father of all the scholars in mathematics and geometry, preeminent in Bible and *masorah, whose talents and wisdom are unlimited" (cf. D. Yarden (ed.), Maḥberot Immanuel ha-Romi, 1 (1957), 229–31). Of his biblical commentaries only those to Proverbs and Chronicles have survived. Written apparently before 1312, they consist mainly of explanations of difficult verses and grammatical comments. He also completed the commentary to Kings left unfinished by *Isaiah Trani the Elder. His exegesis is based upon the literal meaning, and he is considered a pioneer of this method among the Italian Bible commentators. In the introduction to his commentary on Proverbs he emphasizes his opposition to the homiletic method in exegesis, pointing out that most exegetes "follow the method of homiletical exposition (derash) instead of the literal, and fail to pay attention to the significance of what the rabbis call peshat (literal exposition), i.e., that which is pashut, simple and obvious." Among his grammatical works are Mavo Kaẓar le-Torat ha-Higgui, on phonetics, published as an introduction to the Sefer ha-Dikdukim of Moses Kimḥi (Venice, 1546) and Mevoha-Dikduk, a revised version and extensive summation of the former book (published by S. Loewinger, 1931). A commentary to Ezra and Nehemiah (published by Berger in Kobez al Jad, 7 (1896–97); see Alberstamm's note, p. 42) as well as various piyyutim are also attributed to him.

bibliography:

Guedemann, Gesch Erz, 2 (1884), 156; W. Bacher, in: rej, 10 (1885), 123–44; Vogelstein-Rieger, 1 (1896), 388–92; H. Berger, in: mwj, 16 (1889), 207–54; idem, in: mgwj, 45 (1901), 138–65, 373–404; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 371; S. Loewinger, Kétközépkori héber grammatikáról (1931), 1–34.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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