Kimḥi, Moses

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KIMḤI, MOSES (known by the acronym Remak, i.e., R abbi M oses K imḥi; d. c. 1190), grammarian and exegete of Narbonne, Provence; son of Joseph *Kimḥi and brother of David *Kimḥi. As a grammarian, he generally followed his father, although his work shows traces of the influence of Abraham *Ibn Ezra, especially in terminology. He was little concerned with phonology and stressed the morphology of the verb. In the Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at (Pesaro, 1508), Moses introduced the use of the root pkd (פקד) in paradigms and, considering nifal the passive of kal, arranged the conjugations in the order: kal, nifal, pi'el, pu'al, hifil, hofal, po'el, hitpa'el. These innovations became common in later grammars. The Mahalakh was glossed both by Elijah Levita and Shabbetai b. Isaac of Przemysl and was translated into Latin by Sebastian Muenster under the title Liber viarum linguae sacrae (Paris, 1520). Moses also wrote Sekhel Tov (published by D. Castelli, in rej, 28 (1894), 212–27; 29 (1894), 100–10), a brief supplementary treatise dealing principally with the theoretical classification of nouns, particles, and verbs. A Sefer Taḥboshet, apparently dealing with anomalous grammatical forms, is no longer extant.

In his exegesis, Moses followed the method of literal interpretation employed by his father and Ibn Ezra. Preferring to comment on generally neglected books of the Bible, he composed commentaries on Proverbs, Ezra, and Nehemiah – which have been printed in rabbinic Bibles but ascribed to Abraham Ibn Ezra – and a commentary on Job (published by I. Schwarz in Tikvat Enosh, 1868). Ta'anug Nefesh, an ethical work, has also been attributed to him. Moses Kimḥi exercised considerable influence on his brother David, who referred to him as "my brother, my teacher." Through Muenster's translation, his Mahalakh became one of the most popular grammars used by the 16th-century Christian Hebraists and was reprinted many times.


Geiger, in: Oẓar Neḥmad, 1 (1856), 118; 2 (1857), 18–24; F.J. Ortuta y Murgoito, Moisés Kimchi y su obra Sekel Tob (1920); Bacher, in: rej, 21 (1890), 281–5; J.B. Sermoneta, in: Seritti in Memoria di L. Carpi (1968), 59–100.

[Frank Talmage]