Ḥayyuj, Judah ben David

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ḤAYYUJ, JUDAH BEN DAVID (c. 945–c. 1000), the most important Hebrew grammarian towards the turn of the 10th century. About his life little is known. He was born in Fez and arrived at Córdoba in 960 when the dispute between *Menahem b. Jacob ibn Saruq and *Dunash b. Labrat was at its height. It is doubtful whether he should be identified with Judah b. David, one of the three students of Menahem who composed Teshuvot al Dunash ben Labrat, the two others being Isaac ibn Kapron and Isaac ibn *Gikatilla (ed. by Z. Stern in 1870).

His works include (1) Kitāb al-Tanqīṭ or Kitāb al-Nuqat ("Book of Vocalization") was translated into Hebrew by Abraham Ibn Ezra. It includes grammatical and masoretic matters, dealing mainly with nouns. (2) Kitāb al-'Af 'āl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn ("The Book of Weak Letter Verbs"), translated into Hebrew by Moses ha-Kohen ibn Gikatilla, by Ibn Ezra, and by Isaac b. Eliezer ha-Levi (1458); parts of an anonymous translation have been found. (3) Kitāb al-'Af 'āl Dhawāt al-Mithlayn ("The Book of Geminate Verbs"), translated into Hebrew by Moses ha-Kohen ibn Gikatilla and Ibn Ezra (entitled Po'ole ha-Kefel).

(4) Kitāb al-Nutaf ("Book of Plucked Feathers"); Ibn Ezra called the book Sefer ha-Koraḥah ("Book of Baldness"), and this later became corrupted to Sefer ha-Rokḥah. In this book he intended to explain the difficult verses in the eight books of the Prophets by linguistic method. There are extant parts on Joshua, Judges, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, which include discussions of individual words, as well as a discussion on the importance of the meteg and other accents for understanding the Hebrew language.

The originals and the Hebrew translations of (1) (2) and (3) were published by J.L. Dukes (1844), G.W. Nutt (1870), and M. Jastrow (1897). Remnants of the Arabic original of (4) and their translation into modern Hebrew were published by P. Kokovtsov (see bibl.), S. Abramson, I. Eldar, and N. Allony. Recently, all these and other remnants were republished by N. Basal in Kitāb al-Nutaf (2001).

In his two works on the verb, Ḥayyuj developed the view that all Hebrew roots are made up of three letters, one of which, however, may be interchanged when conjugated with a weak letter, and may be elided or assimilated to a letter with a dagesh. This is a departure from the earlier view which recognized two-letter roots (בל ,רע ,קם ,תם) and even some one-letter roots (the ז and the ט of ויז and ויט). According to G. Goldenberg (Leshonenu 44 (1980), 281–292), however, Ḥayyuj's major invention was not the tri-literality of the Hebrew verb but rather his concept of s?sin layyin.

His works spread rapidly throughout the Eastern countries and even became popular in Germany. Jonah ibn Janāaḥ completed in his Kitāb al-Mustalaḥaq the material missing in Ḥayyuj's works. Based on Ḥayyuj's theory, Ibn Janāaḥ also wrote a comprehensive biblical Hebrew grammar and lexicon. Moses ha-Kohen ibn Gikatilla (?) prepared a synopsis in Mukhtaṣar Ḥayyuj (synopsis of Ḥayyuj's works); copies of these books were found in the Cairo Genizah. Several works following Ḥayyuj's footsteps were written, including Sefer ha-Shoham, by Moses b. ha-Nesi'a, and Sefat Yeter by Isaac b. Eliezer ha-Levi. All the work on Hebrew language and biblical exegesis since Ḥayyuj has been based on his ideas, and much of what he said, as well as his terminology (coined later on in Hebrew), is used to this day.

See also *Linguistic Literature, Hebrew.


W. Bacher, Die grammatische Terminologie des Jehuda b. Dawid Hajjug (1882); idem, in: J. Winter and A. Wuensche, Die juedische Litteratur, 2 (1894), 159–61; B. Drachman, Die Stellung und Bedeutung des Jehuda Hajjug (1885); M. Jastrow (ed.), The Weak and Geminative Verbs in Hebrew by Abu Zakariyya Yahya ibn Dawud of Fez (1897); Steinschneider, Arab Lit, 119; S. Poznański, in: jqr, 16 (1925/26), 237–66; H. Hirschfeld, Literary History of Hebrew Grammarians and Lexicographers (1926), 35–40; P. Kokovtsov, Novye materialy…, 2 (1916), 1–74 (Russ. pt.), 1–58; S. Pinsker, Likkutei Kadmoniyyot (1860), index; D. Yellin, Toledot Hitpatteaḥut ha-Dikduk ha-Ivri (1945), 113f., Abraham b. Azriel, Arugat ha-Bosem, ed. by E.E. Urbach, 2 (1947), 140; N. Allony, in: Minaḥah li-Yhudah [Zlotnick] (1950), 67–83; idem, in: bm, 16 (1963), 90–105; P. Kokovtsov, Mi-Sifrei ha-Balshanut ha-Ivrit ed. by N. Allony (1970).

[Nehemya Allony /

Aharon Maman (2nd ed.)]

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Ḥayyuj, Judah ben David

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