Hart, Jacob

views updated


HART, JACOB (1745–1814), kabbalist and grammarian. He was the first native-born English scholar of this type in the modern period. A jeweler by profession, Hart took an active part in communal affairs in London and received rabbinical ordination in Europe some time between 1800 and 1804. Under his Hebrew name of Eliakim b. Abraham he published various works in Hebrew on religion, Kabbalah, and grammar. They include Asarah Ma'amarot, of which five treatises only were published, three of them in England (1794–99); Milḥamot Adonai, a polemic in defense of religion against science and philosophy, sharply criticizing Voltaire and other rationalist writers; Binah la-Ittim, a computation of the date of the end of the world (keẓ) according to the Book of *Daniel, predicting it for 1843; Zuf Novelot on kabbalistic subjects; an abridgment of Novelot Hokhmah by Joseph Solomon *Delmedigo with notes and a commentary in which Hart attempted to prove creatio ex nihilo. Two of his works were published in Berlin in 1803, Ma'yan Gannim, an abridgment of Ginnat Egoz by Joseph b.Abraham *Gikatilla, and Ein ha-Kore on the Hebrew vowels, which contends that the Ashkenazi pronunciation is correct. In the same year Hart published in Roedelheim the grammatical treatise Ein ha-Mishpat. His works indicate that Hart was a man of broad general education.


A. Barnett and S. Brodetsky, in: jhset, 14 (1940), 207–23; A. Barnett, The Western Synagogue through Two Centuries (1961), index.

[Cecil Roth]