Ibn Ḥabib, Moses ben Shem tov

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IBN ḤABIB, MOSES BEN SHEM TOV (15th century), philosopher, grammarian, and Hebrew poet. Born in Lisbon, Moses lived in various towns in southern Italy – Naples, Bitonto, and Otranto. From his two works on Hebrew grammar, it is clear that he was influenced by Profiat *Duran, who based Hebrew grammar on logic. His Peraḥ Shoshan (Margoliouth, Cat, 3 (1915), 306 no. 980), was completed in Naples in 1484. His Marpe Lashon, in which he summarized the principles of Hebrew grammar, was published together with his Darkhei No'am (Constantinople, 1510–14?), completed in Bitonto in 1486. Like the later Spanish poets, Moses was much occupied with the study of prosody, and composed his Darkhei No'am for this purpose. He prefaces the list of meters with a detailed introduction on the nature of poetry and its forms, and forbids the use of secular poetic forms. In his view only sacred poetry, reproof, and moral guidance are permitted. He held that rhyme and meter were present in Hebrew poetry already in ancient times. Most of his poems were published in Dark-hei No'am. While in Otranto he wrote a commentary to the Beḥinat Olam of Jedaiah ha-Penini Bedersi (Constantinople, 1520?). Also extant are medical writings which Moses translated into Hebrew.


W. Bacher, Die hebraeische Sprachwissenschaft vom 10. bis zum 16. Jahrhundert (1892), 100, 113; Marx, in: zhb, 9 (1905), 123f.; M.B. Amzalak, Portuguese Hebrew Grammars and Grammarians (1928), 10–12; Schirmann, Sefarad, 2 (1956), 663f., 700; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 439.

[Abraham David]

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Ibn Ḥabib, Moses ben Shem tov

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