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Linguistic Literature, Hebrew


This article is arranged according to the following outline:

    The Beginning of Linguistic Literature
    Linguistic Literature and its Background
the development of linguistic literature
    Foreword: A Well-Defined Unit
    The Four Periods
        the criteria of division
        period i: the first attempts
        period ii: the creative period
        period iii: the period of dissemination
        period iv: the "standstill"
    The Motivating Factors for Writing on Linguistics
    Description of the Language
        biblical hebrew
        the status of post-biblical hebrew
    Comparison with Aramaic and Arabic
        comparison as a means to a better understanding of hebrew
        comparison with aramaic
        comparison with arabic
    General Works
        the arrangement of the dictionaries
        the dictionary entry
    Grammatical Works
        kutub al-lugha by saadiah gaon
        works of Ḥayyuj on weak and geminative verbs
        the kitĀb al-lumaʾ by ibn janĀh
        the grammatical works of period iii
                Sefer Zaḥot by Abraham ibn Ezra
                Sefer Zikkaron by Joseph Kimḥi
                Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at by Moses Kimḥi
                Mikhlol by David Kimḥi
            maʿaseh efod by profiat duran
            mikneh avram by abraham de balmes
the study of linguistic literature
    Fields of Activity
    Publication of the Works
    General Development of Linguistic Literature
    Monographs on Authors and their Works
    Miscellaneous Topics
authors and their works
from the 16th century to the present
    The Beginnings of Christian Hebrew Studies
    Stirrings of Critical Attitudes
    The Classical Historical Method
    Modern Trends



The literature of linguistics arose against a background of both the literature of the *masorah and the exegetical literature of the Bible which is incorporated in the Talmuds and in the Midrashim. Breaking away from them, it came to constitute an independent branch of literature, with its own delimitations of subject matter, its own system, and phraseology.

The Beginning of Linguistic Literature

It is generally assumed that its formation was completed by the beginning of the tenth century c.e. at the latest. It is also commonly held that the works of *Saadiah GaonAgron (Egron), the first edition of which was written in 902, and Kutub al-Lugha – are the first two books of linguistics proper – the former dealing with lexicography and the latter with grammar. The authors of the 12th century such as Abraham *Ibn Ezra (see for example the list of the "scholars of the language" in the introduction to his Moznayim), considered Saadiah Gaon to be the first grammarian; so too scholars of the 19th (such as Bacher) and 20th centuries (Skoss). The creation of this branch in Jewish literature was assisted at the beginning of the tenth century by a number of factors. First, the shaping of the form of the biblical text with regard to its letters, vocalization, cantillation, and masorah had been completed by the school of *Ben-Asher in Tiberias. From among the different vocalization systems which the Jews established in the third quarter of the first millennium c.e., the Tiberian system had already spread in the Diaspora and become established as the authoritative vocalization of the biblical text. This vocalized, cantillation-marked, masorah-bound text would serve the grammarian as a faithful source for the Hebrew language and he would describe the rules according to it. Secondly, at the beginning of the tenth century the cultural centers of the Jews were within the realm of influence of Arab culture and the contact between the two cultures was already quite close. Hence the intellectuals among the Jews already knew the linguistic teachings of the Arabs, which had developed as early as the eighth century. The Jewish grammarian was accordingly destined to describe the Hebrew language with the concepts and tools of that linguistic theory. Thirdly, it is possible that the emergence of *Karaism – for which the Bible was the sole source of Judaism and which therefore needed to carefully scrutinize the meanings of the words in it – stirred even the Rabbanite Jews to examine the Bible anew in a way which differed both from the masoretic literature and from the talmudic-midrashic literature.

Linguistic Literature and Its Background

It is rather astonishing that the initial emergence of the linguistic literature of the Jews had to be so late in time. There is, however, general agreement that in Semitic this kind of meta-linguistic discourse could not have begun before the invention of the vowel points. As far as Hebrew is concerned this means that linguistic literature could not have begun until after the third quarter of the first millennium c.e. However, already in the literature of the talmudic period there are statements (and expressions) which were later adopted by grammarians in their treatises. Bacher (1895, 20–23) cites such statements from Sefer Yeẓirah, Berliner (1879), and others before him, e.g., Stern, Mavo le-Korot ha-Lashon, printed together with Teshuvot Talmidei Menaẓem, etc., 1870, o–x), Gross (on Menahem, 1872) and after him *Skoss (jqr, 1932/3, 1–12), gathered from talmudic and early midrashic literature expressions which seem to us grammatical statements. But these statements are outside the realm of linguistic literature, and as Goldziher (zomg, 1880, 375–384) already warned, care has to be taken not to attribute linguistic aims to statements whose aims were midrashic or mystic. As for the inventors of the nikkudim, it goes without saying that the act of providing the biblical text with vowel points itself presupposes a well-established phonological theory. But the generations which in the seventh and eighth centuries participated in this work did not leave us any explicit statement of their theory, as they were wholly concerned with its realization in providing the Bible text with vowel points, cantillation signs, and some other diacritical devices. Throughout the late eighth and ninth centuries, though, Jews produced a vast literature about the masorah. But this literature too stands outside the field of linguistics. Indeed, an essential difference separates the masoretic literature from the linguistic with regard to their respective aims, subjects, methods of investigation, and the phrasing of their discussions. The literature about the masorah always deals with the actual Bible text, i.e., with the written form and its actualization in reading. Its exclusive aim is to set (or preserve) a norm with regard to both the orthography of the Bible and its recitation. Its main activity is to enumerate certain types of actual occurrences (for example, homographs), to register them in classified lists, to provide them with mnemotechnical titles and to formulate rules concerning the occurrence of cantillation signs, vowels and letters. Abstractions used in these rules are the names of the types of cantillation signs, vowel signs, and letters, i.e., abstractions on the basis of the orthographic form. The masorah is an anonymous literary creation produced by many generations. Its statements are generally phrased in Aramaic (the mnemotechnical statements, for example) or in rhymed Hebrew prose (see *Masorah). Linguistic literature, on the other hand, is an investigation of the Hebrew language, of which the biblical text is a survival. Its aim is not to fix (or preserve) a norm for the orthography of the text or its recitation, but to describe the rules of the language, of which the text is a partial actualization. It does not enumerate the occurrences in the text, but imposes upon the Bible a grid (or system) of abstract linguistic units, classified and graded, and illustrates the operative abstractions by actual occurrences in the text. It then draws analogies from occurrences in the Bible to words which do not occur in it, whether found in the language or potential in it. It even makes assumptions, states principles, and comes to conclusions which are applicable to all languages including Hebrew, or specifically to Hebrew. During the ninth century there probably existed a vast literature which while masoretic substantively is already grammatical adjectively. Some remnants of this literature are known, especially through the efforts of scholars such as Allony. This type of literature did not disappear at the beginning of the tenth century but continued to exist, though not as prominently. To this type of masoretic (-grammatical) literature belongs also Dikdukei ha-Te'amim by Aaron Ben Asher (ed. Dotan, 1967), written about the same time as Kutub al-Lugha by Saadiah Gaon; but the two works are on the opposite sides of the border which separates masorah literature from linguistic literature. Dikdukei ha-Te'amim deals with cantillation signs, the vocalization of certain occurrences, and the ways of noting the šewaʾ. It contains sections taken from the literature written about the masorah which the author then endorses. Some hold that this compilation is a "new creation" (Dothan), while others believe that it was purposely done "uncritically" (Kurt Lewy). Everyone admits that it represents the end of the literature which aspired to fix a norm for the text. In Kutub al-Lugha, Saadiah Gaon opens his discussion with general suppositions (muqaddamāt, ma'ārif, qawā'id), some of which are universal in his opinion, while others are specific to Hebrew. On the basis of these suppositions he formulates rules of language (qawānīn). He does not count the occurrences but classifies and grades his abstractions and calculates their number. He does not even need the actual occurrences of the text, except as concrete illustrations of his abstractions. He even considers what is possible in the language and what is not (such as the precluded combinations of sounds). Aaron Ben Asher wrote in Hebrew in rhymed prose, while Saadiah, under the influence of Arabic linguistics, even borrowed its form of presentation. Thus Saadiah Gaon crossed the border which divides Masorah literature from linguistic literature. While Ben Asher, the last of the masoretes, was also among those who brought the literature about the Masorah to its zenith, Saadiah Gaon was the first grammarian among the Jews.

the development of linguistic literature

Foreword: A Well-Defined Unit

Until the beginning of the 16th century the authors of linguistic literature were almost exclusively Jewish. (Members of other religions, such as the Christians, who did produce works about Hebrew linguistics at the beginning of the 16th century did so only on the basis of the work of earlier or contemporary Jewish authors.) This literature, excepting the work of Samaritan grammarians, had two joint bases: the Masoretic Text of the Bible and the Arabic approach to grammar. Notwithstanding the differences of approach and opinion among the authors, it may be assumed that this literature consolidated into one linguistic school; and it is still the only one which the Jews have established in the investigation of the Hebrew language. Founded though it is on the two bases, it is worthwhile to consider this literature, whose course of development spans six centuries, as one well-defined and well-delimited unit in the history of the literature which deals with the scientific study of the Hebrew language.

The Four Periods

the criteria of division

This unit can be divided into two parts, the border separating them being the middle of the 12th century, and two periods can be distinguished in each of the parts:

i. The time of the first attempts, which extends from the beginning of linguistic literature until the end of the tenth century.

ii. The creative period, which reaches the middle of the 12th century;

iii. The period of dissemination, ending in the first half of the 13th century;

iv. The period of the "standstill," which extends to the first half of the 16th century.

The first period is separated from the second by the publication of the works of Judah Ḥayyūj. An historical event separates the second from the third period: the tribulations of 1148 in Spain, followed by the migration of the Spanish scholars to the Christian lands. The third period is separated from the fourth by the appearance of the Mikhlol of David *Kimḥi. The fourth period ends with the first attempts of the Christian authors to write grammars for the Hebrew language – Johann *Reuchlin (1506), Sebastian *Muenster (1542) – in order to spread the knowledge of Hebrew among the Christians, and with Mikneh Avram (1523), the first systematic methodical attempt to apply Latin linguistics to the Hebrew language. A short survey of each period follows:

period i: the first attempts

Throughout the tenth century c.e. works dealing with language were written (all in Arabic) in the East and in North Africa. In the second half of the century works were produced in Spain as well, but in Hebrew. It is in this period that the first attempts were made at exposition on the Hebrew language: the Agron of Saadiah Gaon is the first attempt at establishing a prototype of a dictionary for Hebrew, while Kutub al-Lugha is the first grammar of biblical Hebrew. In the second quarter of the century Judah *Ibn Quraysh wrote his Risāla, the first attempt at systematic comparison of biblical words, to Aramaic words, to Hebrew words from the Mishnah and Talmud, and to Arabic words. In Kitāb al-Sabʿīn Lafẓa al-Mufrada Saadiah Gaon had already tried to explain hapax legomena of the Bible according to their use in rabbinic literature. At about the same time *Dunash ibn Tamim also dealt with the close connection between Hebrew and Arabic in the area of vocabulary. Toward the middle of the century David b. Abraham *Alfāsi wrote the first comprehensive dictionary for Hebrew and biblical Aramaic, known in Arabic as Jāmi' al-Alfāẓ, and in Hebrew as al-Agron. In the third quarter of the century *Menaḥem ibn Saruq wrote his Maḥberet, the first comprehensive dictionary for biblical Hebrew and Aramaic to be written in Hebrew, and also the first linguistic work written in Spain. Controversy over the Maḥberet was then carried on in Hebrew until the end of the period and involved *Dunash b. Labrat, who wrote 180 criticisms of Menahem, the students of Menaḥem who replied to some of those criticisms, and a student of Dunash who in turn answered some of those objections. It is assumed that about the same time the "criticism" against Saadiah Gaon was written, allegedly by the same Dunash b. Labrat. However, neither the identity of the author of these "criticisms" nor the question of the language in which they were written has been clarified (see, however, Del Valle Rodriguez and others, section 6 below). Works of authors who wrote in Arabic (Saadiah Gaon, Ibn Quraysh, Ibn Tamim, Alfāsi) were widespread in the 11th century. Grammarians used them and quoted them whether they agreed with them or not, and in the East they served as a model for authors in the first half of the 11th century (*Abū al-Faraj, *Hai Gaon). However, in the middle of the 12th century, with the shift of the centers of Judaism from the Arab realm to the Christian lands, these works, not having been translated into Hebrew, were slowly forgotten in the Christian West, being remembered only from secondary sources, until ultimately they were completely lost. The surviving remnants were discovered only recently. The works written in Hebrew, however, understandably fared better. The Maḥberet of Menaḥem, for example, was found in many copies among the Jews of Italy and (northern) Franco-German Jewry and its influence continued until the end of the 12th century.

period ii: the creative period

In this period most of the works were written in Spain, and all in Arabic. The description of biblical Hebrew was completed in these works, in the areas of both grammar and the lexicon. About the year 1000 Ḥayyūj wrote his two works on the Hebrew verb – Kitābal-Af'āl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn and Kitāb al-Af'āl Dhawāt al-Mithlayn; and thus a new period in the history of Hebrew linguistic literature was begun. In these works he applies the principle of the tri-radical root which had already been used in Arabic language theory since the eighth century. The first third of the century saw the controversy over these works of ḥayyūj: by the second decade of the century Jonah *Ibn Janāḥh written his Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq, in which he completed that which Ḥayyūj had "overlooked" and in a few instances even rejected the analysis of Ḥayyūj, suggesting his own solutions. *Samuel ha-Nagid wrote Rasāʾil al-Rifāq, in which he objected to some of the comments made by Jonah ibn Janāḥin his Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq. At that, Jonaḥ ibn Janāḥ replied to the Rasāʾil al-Rifāq in Kitāb al-Tashwīr and Samuel ha-Nagid replied in turn in his Kitāb al-ḥujja. Jonah ibn Janāḥ replied in Kitāb al-Taswiʾa to other objections – reports of which had reached him in Saragossa – that the Nagid and his associates had voiced against Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq. A work entitled Kitāb al-Istīfāʾ was written in Saragossa, adding criticism of the works of Ḥayyūj which Ibn Janāḥ had not dealt with in Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq. Ibn Janāḥ replied to this work in Risālat al-Tanbīh. Risālat al-Taqrīb wa al-Tashīl is another work of Ibn Janāḥ, which explained difficult passages in the introductions of Ḥayyūj to his works. Even in the second half of the 13th century a late-developing echo of the dispute surrounding the works of Ḥayyūj was heard – in Meir b. David's Hassagat ha-Hassagah, in which he defends Ḥayyūj against the criticism of Ibn Janāḥ in Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq. It is reasonable to assume that this literature of "objections" and "replies" is the written expression of the many penetrating discussions which took place orally among intellectuals in Spain during the first half of the 11th century. In these disputes investigation of language was ever increasing in depth and refinement, and linguistic science became more and more consolidated. The study of the language never attained such fine and sharp distinctions as those in the controversy which developed around the works of Ḥayyūj in the generation of Ibn Janāḥ and Samuel ha-Nagid. In this controversy such fine issues were discussed as: the passive of qal in biblical Hebrew, the use of the term inf ʾI'al to indicate the transitive nif'al forms, and the use of the term maṣdar to denote the forms qatol, qetol, in Hebrew. In the 1040s, far from the noise of the dispute, Ibn Janāḥ and Samuel ha-Nagid settled down to summarize their teachings. Samuel wrote Kitāb al-Istighnāʾ, a dictionary of biblical Hebrew, which in many ways (such as its scope, arrangement of entries, wealth of references, and the precise mention of earlier authors) is perhaps the zenith of lexicography of the Hebrew language. It was lost, however, and only a few small remnants have survived. Ibn Janāḥ set down with the wisdom of age a complete description of biblical Hebrew in his work Kitāb al-Tanqīḥ, which consists of two parts: Kitāb al-Lumaʿ(grammar) and Kitāb aI-Uṣūl (a dictionary). This two-part work, with the writings of Ḥayyūj and the shorter works of Ibn Janāḥ mentioned above, form the first complete description of biblical Hebrew, and no similar work – comparable in scope, depth, and precision – was written until modern times. This description constitutes the high point of linguistic thought in all the literature under discussion. In the second half of the 11th century certain Bible commentaries used the grammatical analyses and the dictionary definitions found in the works of Ḥayyūj, Ibn Janāḥ, and Samuel ha-Nagid. A series of monographs on defined linguistic issues was also written, in which their authors tried to go more profoundly into the teachings of their predecessors. Isaac *Ibn Yashush wrote Kitāb al-Tasārīf, apparently on the subject of inflection, in the middle of the century, but it has been lost. In the third quarter of the century Moses b. Samuel *Gikatilla wrote Kitāb al-Tadhkīr wa al-Taʾnīth, a monograph concerning grammatical gender based on the statements of Ibn Janāḥ in Kitāb al-Lumaʿ, chapter 37 (38), and on various entries in Kitāb al-Uṣūl. At the end of the third quarter of the century Judah *Ibn Balʾam tried to give an exhaustive description of the particles of Hebrew in his Kitāb Ḥurūf al-Ma'āni; this subject had already intrigued Abū al-Faraj at the beginning of the century and Ibn Janāḥ in Kitāb al-Uṣūl. He also dealt with two topics which had not as yet been described systematically: denominative verbs in his Kitāb al-Af'āl al-Mushtaqqa min al-Asmā', and homonyms in his Kitāb al-Tajnīs. In the last quarter of the century Isaac *Ibn Barūn wrote Kitāb al-Muwāzana bayn al-Lugha al-'Ibrāniyya wa al-Lugha al-ʿArabiyya ("The Book of Comparison between the Hebrew and the Arabic Languages"); it is the most complete in-depth study of the relationship between Hebrew and Arabic until that time. In contrast to Ibn Quraysh, Ibn Tamim, Dunash b. Labrat and others who dealt with the comparison between Hebrew and Arabic in relation to vocabulary, Ibn Barūn also deals with grammar in the introduction to this work. It seems that introductions to linguistics were also written, such as Sefer ha-Mafte'aḥ (?) of Levi *Ibn Altabban, composed in the third quarter of the century, and perhaps adaptations were made, such as al-Kāmil (?) of *Jacob b. Eleazar. Commentaries and criticism were written too, such as "pseudo-Ibn Yashush," which was probably an explanation of statements of Samuel ha-Nagid. There were also works written of which we have only heard and whose very names are unknown, such as the writing of *David ha-Dayyan ibn Hajjar, which apparently concerned the vowels. In the second quarter of the 12th century Moses *Ibn Ezra wrote in Arabic his Kitāb al-Muḥāḍarawa al-Mudhākara, the first Hebrew poetics. The authors of this period are the great creators of Hebrew linguistics. It is they who determined its scope, consolidated its system, and formulated its rules. It is they who fixed its terminology and phraseology: in part Aramaic-Hebrew, being drawn from the Masorah literature, and in part Arabic, being borrowed from Arabic linguistic literature.

period iii: the period of dissemination

The tribulations of 1148 caused a sudden cessation of original contributions in Hebrew linguistics. The Jewish intellectuals of Spain who were exiled to Italy and to southern France brought with them the works which had been written in Spain and began to spread their contents among intellectuals in their new lands. The dissemination was accomplished in two ways: Hebrew adaptations and Hebrew translations. The Spanish exiles began to compose works in Hebrew which are nothing more than summaries of the ideas of Ḥayyūj, Ibn Janāḥ, Samuel ha-Nagid and other authors who had taught them. These adaptations include the grammatical works which Abraham ibn Ezra wrote during his wanderings in Italy and France between 1140 and 1160: Moznayim (Rome, 1140); a work defending Saadiah Gaon (title unknown); Sefat Yeter (= Sefer Yesod Diqduq) (Lucca, 1140–45); and Ẓaḥot (Mantua, 1145); Sefer ha-Shem and Yesod Mispar (both in Beziers before 1155), and Safah Berurah (apparently also in southern France). In 1161 Salomon ibn Parhon wrote Maḥberet he-Arukh in Salerno, Italy, which is so faithful a representation of the works of Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ that it was once mistaken for a condensed translation of them. Joseph *Kimḥi wrote his Sefer Zikkaron in Narbonne. To conclude the survey of adaptations, the Sefer ha-Makor of Isaac ha-Levi may be mentioned. On the other hand, Spanish exiles began to translate into Hebrew the most important works that had been written in Spain. Moses ha-Kohen Gikatilla had already translated the two important works of Ḥayyūj by the third quarter of the 11th century, thus being the first to render grammatical works from Arabic into Hebrew. Abraham ibn Ezra translated the three works of Ḥayyūj again, apparently in Rome in 1140. Judah ibn *Tibbon completed his translation of Kitāb al-Tanqīḥ of Ibn Janāḥ in 1171 at Lunel, calling it Sefer ha-Diqduq: the first part of it, Kitāb al-Lumaʿ, under the title Sefer ha-Riqmah; and Kitāb al-Uṣūl under the name Sefer ha-Shorashim. From Judah ibn Tibbon we know of other attempts to translate Kitāb al-Uṣūl. At the end of the 12th century (or at any rate no later than the second quarter of the 13th century) Obadiah ha-Sefardi translated the Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq of Ibn Janāḥ, calling it Sefer ha-Hassagah. At Beziers in the mid-13th century, Solomon b. Joseph b. Job translated Ibn Janāḥ's Kitābal-Taswiʾa ("The Book of Rebuke") under the incorrect title Sefer ha-Hashva'ah ("The Book of Comparison"), and Risālat al-Tanbīh, which he called also Sefer ha-Ma'aneh. There is also an anonymous translation of the three monographs of Judah ibn Bal'am. Complete or almost complete copies of all these translations exist, except for those of Ben Job, of which only fragments are extant. In the last quarter of the 12th century Moses b. Joseph Kimḥi wrote Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at, for which he already used the works of Abraham ibn Ezra and even those of Joseph Kimḥi. David Kimḥi ended the work of adaption with his Sefer Mikhlol. This work is constructed in the same way as the Kitāb al-Tanqīḥ of Ibn Janāḥ. It also consists of two parts: grammar – Mikhlol, and lexicon – Sefer ha-Shorashim. For the content he drew upon the works of Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ, apparently in their Hebrew translations, and upon the works of adaptors who preceded him. In the Mikhlol the theoretical foundations, the methodological clarifications, the substantiations and explanations were reduced, and the mechanical, technical, paradigmatic side appended. The author gave prominence to the verb, devoting much space to it. This work of David Kimḥi, which did more than any other to spread the ideas of Ibn Janāḥ among the Hebrew-reading intellectuals, is the one which helped cause Ibn Janāḥ's own works to be forgotten. While the two parts of Sefer Mikhlol were printed many times (Heleq ha-'Inyan [Sefer ha-Shorashim] from 1480, and Ḥeleq ha-Diqduq [Mikhlol] from 1532–34), the works of Ibn Janāḥ himself were not published, even in their Hebrew translations, until the second half of the 19th century. At the end of the period under discussion Moses b. Isaac of London wrote Sefer ha-Shoham, the first linguistic work written by a Franco-German Jew upon the basis of the linguistic theory of the Spanish grammarians, as found in the writings of Abraham ibn Ezra, Parhon, and Joseph Kimḥi, and in the translation of the works of Ḥayyūj and of Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq.

Although the works of adaptation and translation obviously made but a slight original contribution to linguistic thought, it would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of this literary activity. It was the translators and adaptors who saved Hebrew linguistics from oblivion and made it a permanent branch in the history of Jewish literature. They also translated into Hebrew the Arabic grammatical terms used in the works of Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ, and they fixed a mode of exposition for grammatical and lexicographical issues, that has existed until today in the study and teaching of the Hebrew language and in Hebrew biblical exegesis.

period iv: the "standstill."

During this period the West produced as much literature as during period iii, yet from the aspect of quality there was almost a complete lack of progress. This period in the West bears the stamp of the almost exclusive influence of the works of period iii, primarily that of the Mikhlol of David Kimḥi. Since the works of period ii, which were written in Arabic, were forgotten, the Mikhlol became the authoritative formulation of Hebrew linguistics, the authoritative source for grammarians and lexicographers. The unshakable prestige of the Mikhlol was further strengthened by the widespread distribution of the Bible commentary of David Kimḥi. Some of the authors of period iv copy the statements of David Kimḥi in the most minute detail, while others take over most of his theories, though critically. No matter what, they were always dependent on his work. Most of the books of this period are partial adaptations of their sources and are of a practical nature, such as introductions to the study of Hebrew, and textbooks or learning aids to vocalizers of the biblical text. Despite the standstill of this period, however, sporadic attempts were made at widening the scope of linguistic literature. A chapter on the rules of poetic meter was regularly included in grammars and even complete works on poetics and rhetoric were written. A few dictionaries were written for types of post-biblical Hebrew, such as al-Murshid al-Kāfi by Tanḥum Yerushalmi, which was a dictionary of the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, and Tishbi by Elijah (Baḥur) *Levita, which is a partial dictionary of talmudic and post-talmudic Hebrew. Elijah Levita also wrote a dictionary for the Aramaic of the Targumim of the Bible, entitled Meturgeman. The first dictionaries of synonyms were also written: Ḥotam Tokhnit of Abraham *Bedersi (second half of the 13th century) and Ohel Mo'ed of Solomon b. Abraham of Urbino (1480). In the second quarter of the 15th century Isaac b. Kalonymus wrote Me'ir Nativ (or Ya'ir Nativ) in Provence – the first concordance of biblical Hebrew. At the beginning of the 15th century Jehiel of Italy wrote Maḳe Dardekei, a Hebrew-Italian-Arabic dictionary, the first of its type. In the manner of Rashi, Abraham ibn Ezra, the Kimḥis, and others, several authors began to cite foreign loanwords from the vernaculars of the Jews and the languages of the Christian environment, in dictionaries, grammars, and commentaries. A small number of works written during this period are concerned with theoretical issues. First, the demand for basing linguistics upon logic began to make itself felt. In a way this was a rebellion against the mechanical nature of the Mikhlol and a return to the theoretical nature of Kitāb al-Lumaʿ. This tendency is already felt in the surviving portions of the work of Nethanel (b. al-Fayyūmī) of Yemen, of the 12th (?) century. It is prominent in Ratukot Kesef of Joseph ibn *Kaspi, who lived in Provence in the first third of the 14th century. It is most outstanding in Ma'aseh Efod of Profiat *Duran (1403), which also contains criticism of the Mikhlol. Theoretically there is a dialectical return in this work to Ibn Janāḥ, and this is one of the two most important contributions of this period to linguistics. Secondly, contact with Latin linguistics increased, i.e., as it was represented by such scholars as Donatus. Joseph Kimḥi was already influenced by this contact at the time when he mentioned the grammatica of Latin together with the naḥw (grammar) of Arabic. This influence is especially noticeable at the very end of the period. In 1523 Abraham de *Balmes in his Mikneh Avram tries to apply the ideas of Latin grammar to the description of the Hebrew language. Thus he devotes a chapter, the seventh, entitled Harkavah ("composition"), to the syntax of the Hebrew word. This work, together with Ma'aseh Efod of Profiat Duran, constitutes the most important contribution of the period, and actually begins a new chapter in the history of this literature. In 1506 Johann Reuchlin published Rudimenta Linguae Hebraicae. Based on David Kimḥi, it is the first Christian work for the instruction of Hebrew to Christians. In Basle in 1541, Sebastian Muenster wrote Melekhet ha-Dikduk ha-Shalem, which is based on the work of Elijah Levita. Thus it was that research into the Hebrew language ceased being exclusively Jewish and became part of European culture; with this too a new period in the history of Hebrew linguistic literature began.

The Motivating Factors for Writing on Linguistics

Around the end of the first millennium c.e. writing about linguistic issues was a new phenomenon in Jewish literature, considered by many important people as a vain, senseless activity. Therefore, in their introductions, the authors discuss the motivating factors which stimulated them to write their linguistic works. They seek to prove to their readers that it is incumbent upon Jews to take up the investigation of their language and their arguments include the following points: (1) language is the means for all discernment and linguistics is the means for all investigation and wisdom; (2) the fulfillment of the commandments depends upon the understanding of the written word, and in turn, the proper knowledge of the language is impossible without the aid of linguistics; (3) the Hebrew language is the most ancient tongue and the most perfect. When it was a living language it was incomparably rich and extensive, and had the Jews not been exiled from their land knowledge of it would now be complete. However, because of the exile it was forgotten for the most part and only a small part of it remained – i.e., the part contained in the 24 books of the Bible and another small segment contained in rabbinic literature. The Jews face the danger that their knowledge of their language will continue to be defective, or even forgotten altogether, because of their wanderings and the distance in time from the years when Hebrew was a living language. They are therefore obliged to preserve their cognition of the language in every way. In order to safeguard this knowledge the authors undertook to write their works. Consequently they had a twofold purpose. On the one hand they wanted to increase the knowledge of the language and thereby aid the understanding of the written word, and on the other hand they wanted to provide Hebrew writers with a suitable literary tool, and to prevent them from deviating from the rules of the exemplary language of the Bible. These two aims are already expressed by Saadiah Gaon, reappearing in a new guise in the authors who follow him. The actual motivation for producing a particular work, though, was sometimes polemical. The controversy which raged between Saadiah and the Karaites motivated him to write al-Sabʾīn Lafẓa al-Mufrada. Later the frequent debates with the Christians stimulated the Jews to establish linguistic aids for themselves. Isaac b. Kalonymus wrote the first concordance to the Bible in the middle of the 15th century as an aid in refuting the proofs which Christians cited from Scripture. It is possible that this was also one of the motivations behind the writing of a Hebrew–Italian–Arabic dictionary at the beginning of the 15th century in Southern Italy. Controversies existed even among the grammarians themselves. The history of linguistic literature contains a succession of "criticisms," "replies," and "replies" to the replies, a characteristic case being the above-mentioned exchange involving Menaḥem and Dunash. About two hundred years afterwards Jacob *Tam wrote Hakhra'ot ("Decisions"), intending to decide between the Maḥberet of Menaḥem and the "objections" of Dunash. Joseph Kimḥi criticized the "Decisions" of Jacob Tam in his Sefer ha-Galui, and Benjamin, a student of Jacob Tam, replied to the criticism of Joseph Kimḥi. There is another work also attributed to Dunash, criticizing the linguistic works of Saadiah Gaon, but as yet there has been no satisfactory identification of the author. Abraham ibn Ezra wrote Sefer ha-Haganah (Pseudo-Sefat Yeter) to defend Saadiah Gaon against the "criticism" mentioned above. Mention has already been made of the controversy which raged about the works of Ḥayyūj, between Ibn Janāḥ and his group and Samuel ha-Nagid and his group. In 1517 Elisha b. Abraham wrote Magen David in Constantinople, defending David Kimḥi against the 60 "objections" which Profiat Duran had raised against his work.

Description of the Language

biblical hebrew

From the motivating factors for this writing, it is easy to imagine that they dealt mainly with the language of the Bible. This language is considered complete and ideal: There is harmony and balance in its structure; it has been measured in the scales of justice and law; its rules are logical and its expressions clear. It is free of error and contradiction; everything in it can be explained and substantiated. Yet these characteristics are not obvious from the actual text, rather being hidden in it, so that it is the main task of grammar to reveal them after detailed investigation. Such investigation thus becomes the main object of the grammarian. This self-imposed limitation to biblical Hebrew is already noticeable in the Agron of Saadiah Gaon, where about 80% of the words explained are from the Bible. It is likewise clear from the Kutub al-Lugha, in which he discusses nothing but the grammar of Bible. This attitude prevailed among the authors who followed him, and lasted for centuries.

the status of post-biblical hebrew

All types of post-biblical Hebrew, including mishnaic Hebrew, were marked as inferior and degenerate, for the fate of the language supposedly resembled that of the people. During the entire period under discussion not even one grammar on mishnaic Hebrew was written, nor any one work which described biblical Hebrew and mishnaic Hebrew as one. Still, mishnaic Hebrew was granted a special status; since the sages lived and worked at a time closer to the prophets, it was assumed that details of language remained in the Mishnah which were not included in the Bible. Therefore they used the Mishnah for their works, especially for understanding difficult words, such as hapax legomena. This comparison, mostly lexical, was already begun by Saadiah Gaon in al-Sabʿin Lafẓa al-Mufrada. Ibn Quraysh followed him in his Risāla, and all the others continued it. Ibn Janāḥ in Kitāb al-Lumaʿ compares biblical Hebrew to mishnaic 28 times, and in Kitāb al-Uṣūl 307 times. Needless to say, it never occurred to these grammarians to describe the Hebrew used in post-mishnaic texts, such as piyyutim. They neither listed its forms nor explained its words. They did not even deal with the Hebrew used in the writings of the Spanish poets who were their contemporaries. Only infrequently did they cite a verse of poetry and then it was not because they were interested in a practical description of its language, but rather to criticize or invalidate it, or to endorse it in accordance with usage found (whether frequently or rarely) in the Bible, or according to the virtually possible use of biblical language. There were some who were very severe in these roundabout judgments (such as Moses ibn Ezra and Abraham ibn Ezra), and others who were lenient (Ibn Janāḥ). The dichotomy between biblical and post-biblical Hebrew was absolute in the grammars and dictionaries. However, in works of poetics, illustrative examples were cited from both biblical and post-biblical poetry. Saadiah Gaon in Agron likewise cites the paytanim of Palestine for illustration, and Moses ibn Ezra quotes the poets of Spain in Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa-l-Mudhākara. Because of this dichotomy, as time passed special dictionaries were compiled for post-biblical varieties of Hebrew: Rav Hai Gaon composed towards the end of the first millennium his Kitābal-Ḥāwi, an anagrammatic dictionary covering the Bible and the entire post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic literature up to his time. *Nathan b. Jehiel wrote Arukh, a dictionary covering the Talmuds and the Midrashim, at the beginning of the 12th century, while in the middle of the 13th century, Tanhum Yerushalmi wrote Al-Murshid al-Kāfi (mentioned above), an extensive work in Arabic for the Hebrew of the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, which of course includes most of the vocabulary of mishnaic Hebrew. In 1541 Elijah Levita wrote Tishbi, which is, as mentioned above, a partial dictionary for the Hebrew of the Talmud and post-talmudic literature. Also extant are 15th- and 16th-century Yemenite dictionaries for Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, based also on his commentary to the Mishnah.

Comparison with Aramaic and Arabic

comparison as a means to a better understanding of hebrew

From the very beginning of linguistic literature the authors compared Hebrew to Aramaic and Arabic, as a means to their main goal, the clarification of biblical Hebrew. Their explanation for this was as follows: Hebrew is the oldest of languages; in Genesis 11:1 it is called "one language and one speech," being "the language which Adam laid down." The three languages were "one language" at their source, and even after they separated from one another, Hebrew remained the "principal one," the others being "derivative" languages. In any event, because of the common origin and because of the geographical closeness of their first users, there is a high degree of affinity between them from borrowing, as well as from source. Although Arabic continued in all its richness and to a large extent so did Aramaic, Hebrew was for the most part forgotten. Hebrew linguistics was therefore likely to be aided by these two languages in solving difficult problems in the investigation of biblical language, such as the explanation of certain place-names in the Bible, hapax legomena, and rare forms. The resultant comparative linguistic studies chiefly involved vocabulary, and sometimes grammar as well. A similar explanation is already found early in linguistic literature, as for example, in the Risāla of Ibn Quraysh.

comparison with aramaic

Everyone agreed on the necessity for the comparison to Aramaic, Alfāsi and Menaḥem even including biblical Aramaic in their dictionaries. At the beginning of the 11th century Abū al-Faraj devoted the eighth chapter of his al-Mushtamil to the grammatical comparison between Hebrew and biblical Aramaic, while Ibn Janāḥ com-pares Hebrew to Aramaic ten times in Kitāb al-Lumaʿ and 266 times in Kitāb al-Uṣūl. Moses b. Isaac (middle of the 13th century) added a lexicon of biblical Aramaic to the third part of his Sefer ha-Shoham, and in 1531 Elijah Levita wrote Meturgeman, a dictionary for the Aramaic in the Targumim of the Bible.

comparison with arabic

Comparison with Arabic was also instituted at the start of linguistic literature. Whereas the authors of the tenth century – Dunash ibn Tamim, Alfāsi, and Dunash b. Labrat – dealt with comparison in the area of vocabulary, Ibn Quraysh also used it somewhat for grammar. However, Menaḥem and his disciples were opposed to such comparisons. Dunash b. Labrat felt compelled to compile a list of 167 Hebrew words "whose solution is their meaning in Arabic," in order to prove to him the necessity of comparison with Arabic, and to "accuse" Menaḥem of having himself followed the system of such comparison when he used in his definitions the term כמשמעו ("as its sound") which was understood by Dunash "as its meaning in Arabic." Yet this opposition continued, so that Ibn Janāḥ, who compares Hebrew to Arabic 56 times in Kitāb al-Lumaʿ and 254 times in Kitāb al-Uṣūl, was obliged (in the introduction to the former work) to explain the nature of the comparison between the two languages in an apologetic tone. However, despite the opposition, the comparison between the two languages, which reached its peak in Ibn Barūn's Kitāb al-Muwāzana bayn aI-Lugha al-ʿIbrāniyya wal-Lugha al-ʿArabiyya, became an important methodological tool in Hebrew linguistics. The topic of linguistic comparisons has been thoroughly studied by Maman (2004; see section 12 under Authors and Their Works below).

General Works

There are two main types of works in linguistic literature: the grammar and the dictionary. This division was already developed by Saadiah Gaon: Agron is the first attempt known to us of a prototype of a dictionary, while Kutub al-Lugha is the first grammar of which we know. Yet the clear delimitation of the areas of grammar and lexicography was a slow process, which ended only in the 1040s with the Kitāb al-Tanqīḥ of Ibn Janāḥ. Prior to Kitāb al-Tanqīḥ general linguistic works were usually written without any differentiation of categories whatever. One work of this type is that of Abū al-Faraj, the greatest Karaite grammarian, written at the beginning of the 11th century in Jerusalem. The author gave it the interesting title: Kitāb al-Mushtamil ʿalā al-Uṣūl wa al-Fusūl fi al-Lugha al-ʿIbrāniyya ("The Comprehensive Book of the Roots and Branches, i.e., of the General and Particular Principles, of the Hebrew Language"). It is mentioned by Ibn Janāḥ, who was his junior, as well as by Ibn Balʾam, Moses ibn Ezra, and Abraham ibn Ezra. It is quite an extensive work, its largest manuscript covering 579 pages, and is divided as follows: Part i is on the ten principles (uṣūl) which can be applied to any word whose form needs to be established; Part ii, with 18 chapters, deals with infinitives; Part iii deals with the letters of the alphabet and their division into basic letters (jawhariyya) and servile letters (khawādim); Part iv deals with particles; Part v, containing 16 chapters, is a potpourri of grammatical issues (such as gender, number, relation (nisba), conjunctive pronouns, the transitive and intransitive verb, and so on), lexicological matters (such as synonyms and homonyms), and other points; Part vi deals with the conjugation of the verb h-l-kh; Part vii is a lexicographical section, in which verbs of at least three radicals are arranged according to the anagram system; and Part viii is a comparison of Hebrew and biblical Aramaic. The first general dictionaries (the Al-Agron of Alfāsi and Maḥberet of Menaḥem) are to some degree also comprehensive linguistic works, discussing grammatical issues both in introductions (and with Alfāsi also in prefaces to the sections) and within the entries themselves in the form of digressions. Both in the "criticisms" of Dunash and the "replies" of the pupils, grammatical issues are raised along with lexicographical matters. In his introduction to his "criticism" Dunash set out concisely and by chapter titles, a programmatic plan for the benefit of authors of maḥbarot. Among the "replies" of the pupils of Menaḥem one finds the "long objection," the first (polemical) discussion of the rules of meter for the poetry of Spain. Hence it is in Jonah ibn Janāḥ's Kitāb al-Tanqīḥ that grammar and lexicography are first delimited. In Kitāb al-Lumaʿ (grammar) the author refers to his dictionary 33 times and in Kitābal-Usūl (dictionary) he refers 146 times to his grammar, thus clearly dividing the two main fields of linguistics.


the arrangement of the dictionaries

The division of the letters of the alphabet into base letters and supplemental letters, first found in the writings of Saadiah Gaon, is used by the early authors in the arrangement of their dictionaries. In the first part of Agron, the words are listed in the alphabetical order of their first two base letters, but those words which are written with sin in the Bible are listed there under samekh. Saadiah Gaon is also inconsistent when the second letter is waw or yod, and does not bother at all about the alphabetical order of the letters which follow the second letter. It is in his writings too that we first find the combination of incompatible consonants, listed in the Agron under such entries as סז ,לר ,נל, and treated as "non-existent"; in the second part of the Agron the words are arranged in alphabetical order according to their final letters. These two arrangements were supposed to serve the purpose for which the Agron was written; the first was to supply the paytanim with a list of words for acrostics, while the second was for rhymes. No other Hebrew dictionary is known in which the entries are arranged alphabetically according to the final letter; in others the conventional arrangement by the initial letter predominates. This is the way the words are listed in the Risāla of Ibn Quraysh, and in the first general dictionaries: Al-Agron of Alfāsi and Maḥberet of Menaḥem: with Kitāb al-Uṣūl of Ibn Janāḥ this order became the regular one for arranging dictionaries. There were a few attempts to arrange the entries in the order of an anagram, as in the seventh chapter of al-Mushtamil of Abū al-Faraj, which deals only with tri-radical roots and quadri-radical roots derived from them. There the dictionary entries are divided into groups. The following are found in the extant remnant of the letter ʿayin: עבר ,ערף ,עמר ,עשר ,עפל ,עצב. There are six permutations theoretically possible for every entry of three radicals (321; 231: 312: 132; 213; 123). From the six possible roots only those actually found in the Bible are listed. Under עבר (321) all other possible permutations of the roots are listed, namely: ערב (231), בער (312), ברע (132), רבע (213), רעב (123). The roots found in other entries are cited in this arrangement. The entries with the roots in the section involving the letter ʿayin are displayed in the table Entries with Roots Involving the Letter ʿayin.

The Entry The Roots in the Entry

The Kitāb al-Ḥāwī of Hai Gaon is likewise arranged in this manner (see bibliography in section 13 under Authors and Their Works below). Most of the dictionaries, however, as mentioned above, were arranged alphabetically according to the initial letter. Even the al-Agron of Alfāsi and the Maḥberet of Menaḥem were already organized this way, though they are not consistent in detail. Each consists of an introduction and twenty-two sections, corresponding to the initial letters of the entries. In al-Agron each section – except the sixth, which deals with waw – is divided into chapters following the order of the second letter of the entry. Although in theory each section should be divided into 22 chapters, actually this occurs for only three letters: nun, yod, and sin; for example, (1) נא (2) נב… (22) נת. The other sections are incomplete because Alfāsi does not include incompatible combinations as chapters. Each chapter opens with a list of the names of the entries to be discussed, with illustrative Bible passages, followed by the actual entries. In Menaḥem's work each of the 22 sections (each called a maḥberet) is divided into entries, which are listed at the beginning. In the printed version the uniliteral (one-letter) words of each maḥberet are given, at the beginning, the other entries following in the alphabetical order of their second letters. Entries of more than two letters are alphabetized according to their third letters, and so on. It is not known, though, if the Maḥberet of Menaḥem was originally arranged in this way (cf. Kaufmann zdmg (1886)). Kitābal-Usūl is the first dictionary in which alphabetical order is followed in careful detail. It is also divided into twenty-two sections (maqālāt – "essays") according to the initial letters of the entries. The order of the entries within the maqāla is as follows: At the beginning of the maqāla the entries whose first two letters are identical are listed; e.g., the fourth "essay," on the letter dalet, begins with the entry of double dalet, i.e., דד (Prov. 5:19), then the entries follow in alphabetical order – דאג ,דאב and so on. So, too, each time the second letter of the entry changes within the maqāla, for example: bet and dalet (בד), bet and double dalet (בדד), bet, dalet, and alef (בדא) and so on. In the introduction to Kitāb al-Uṣūl Ibn Janāḥ also informs us that if the first two letters are identical (such as יין ,ככר), he did not consider the second letter; thus יין is not found after יטב, but between ימר and ינה. The works of Ḥayyūj include a lexicon of the weak verbs arranged according to the gezarot (conjugations). All the weak verbs are listed as tri-radicals and arranged alphabetically according to the three letters. Moses b. Isaac used the same method in Sefer ha-Shoham, which consists of three parts: the third part, called alfa beta, is a dictionary in which all the words are listed according to morphological categories. First come the verbs, classified according to conjugations: sound, prima yod, prima nun, the hidden medial waw, final he, assimilated initial and final radical, geminate, and quadri-radical verbs. Within each conjugation the verbs are arranged alphabetically. The last part is a dictionary of nouns, which are likewise arranged according to the various patterns, and listed alphabetically according to their roots. It was only in the second half of the 13th century that Abraham b. Isaac Bedersi wrote Ḥotam Tokhnit, the first dictionary of synonyms for biblical Hebrew, including 360 groups of synonyms arranged alphabetically according to the words of the entry. Each group contains verbs, nouns, and particles. Bedersi's lexical and exegetical sources are: Parhon, Ibn Ezra, Ibn Janāḥ, Ḥayyūj, Dunash and Menahem. He also mentions the first part of the Moreh Nevukhim of Maimonides. In 1480, Solomon b. Abraham of Urbino wrote the second dictionary of synonyms, Ohel Mo'ed, in which he merely enumerates the synonyms in each entry and adds biblical references, only rarely adding the definition.

the dictionary entry

In the early dictionaries (e.g., by Alfāsi and Menaḥem) there are entries of one, two, three letters, and so on. This is based on a differentiation between base and supplemental letters. The former are those which remain in all occurrences of the form, in all declensions of the words and in all the derivatives of a particular group of words. There are 14 single-letter entries in the work of Alfāsi, and 20 in that of Menaḥem, who lists them early in the text of the maḥbarot as individual entries, whereas Alfāsi enumerates them briefly in the general introduction and deals with them in detail in the introductions to the sections. In the Mahberet about 20% of the entries are of two letters, and 65% are of three letters. There are no major differences between him and Alfāsi on this issue. The internal arrangement of the entries is still neither uniform nor permanent, while both authors enumerate the meanings of the words included in each entry. Menaḥem divides a third of all the entries into secondary semantic groups ("sections" or "issues"); 64% of all the two-letter entries contain two or more "sections," while of all the three-letter entries only 30% have two or more "sections." The high percentage of two-letter entries with several "sections" is to be explained by Menahem's concept of the dictionary entry, for he included in those two-letter entries words that have weak consonants, which, according to Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ, would come under different entries. After Ḥayyūj, Spanish lexicographers no longer maintained single-letter entries. Under two-letter entries they listed only particles, pronouns, and bi-radical nouns from which no verbs are derived. Hence, as the number of two-letter entries declined sharply, the number of three-letter entries increased, becoming the largest section of the dictionary. This pattern was finally fixed in Kitāb al-Uṣūl. In the East, scholars continued to list uniradical entries and used a great many bi-radical entries in the many condensations made from the al-Agron of Alfāsi. In the Christian countries the Mahberet of Menaḥem was the only pattern for compiling dictionaries until the third quarter of the 12th century. Thus Nathan b. Jehiel wrote Arukh at the start of the 12th century according to the pattern of the Maḥberet; and Menaḥem b. Solomon wrote his Even Boḥan (1143) in the same way. Even in the first half of the 13th century a dictionary was written in Germany according to this pattern by a certain Samson. There is a finished system for the internal arrangement of a dictionary entry in Kitābal-lstighnāʾ of Samuel ha-Nagid, as may be seen from the two complete entries that we have (אמן ,אמץ). The entry consists of three parts: The first includes the various meanings of the root in a systematic order, accompanied by examples. The second part gives explanations drawn from the literature of earlier exegetes and grammarians, some of them quoted by name. The third part gives a detailed inventory (the entry אמץ borders on a concordance list) of the grammatical forms derived from the root under discussion, beginning with the verb forms and followed by the nominal forms. Ibn Janāḥ discusses the internal arrangement of entries at the end of his introduction to Kitāb al-Uṣūl. In general, at the start of an entry he lists the meaning which he considers the main one and then gives its derivative forms in which this meaning is found. He defines the citations grammatically with the aid of terms derived from the root פעל. For the verb he notes conjugation, tense, and so on, and for the noun its pattern, status, gender, and number. After listing the other meanings, he draws attention to the degree of relation between the various meanings of the entry, for which he uses fixed terms. Not intending to make an exhaustive list of the forms, he offers a small selection of illustrations which are to suffice for the explanation of the meanings of the root and for an understanding of the forms derived from it. He does not, however, discuss grammatical issues extensively, but instead refers the reader to Kitāb al-Lumaʿ and to his other works. He is very brief with weak roots since he does not intend to repeat the statements of Ḥayyūj or those statements already made in his Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq, but he does treat in detail sound roots, particles, nouns from which no verbs are derived, nouns of size and weight, plants and animals. Thus in the work of Ibn Janāḥ a balance is created within the entry between the semantic definition of the root and the grammatical definition of the forms derived from it.

Grammatical Works

kutub al-lugha by saadiah gaon

The first grammar extant, though not in its entirety, is Kutub al-Lugha of Saadiah Gaon. Six of its 12 parts, containing 63 pages, have been published, and the content of a further four is known. The first part, devoted to the letters, apparently discussed their division according to the organs of speech (laryngeals, palatals, linguals, dentals, and labials), their division into the radical and servile letters, and the precluded combinations of letters (דט ,קג ,זש ,זט, etc.). The second part, al-Tafkhīm wa al-Ikhtiṣār ("Augmentation and Contraction") deals with two topics. It opens with pairs of words each of which virtually shares one meaning, and compares the two in each case – e.g., אֲקוֹמֵם (Isa. 44:26), which is an expansion of אָקִים (Amos 9:11). This expansion is of a special type, the augmented word having two adjacent occurrences of the same letter, instead of the single occurrence in the contrasting form. Also surveyed are pairs of words in which there are, respectively, one and two adjacent occurrences of the same combination of letters, such as סַלְסְלֶהָ (Prov. 4:8), in contrast to סׁלוּ (Isa. 57:14). Here, too, one word is an augmented form of the other. The second subject treated in this section is contraction. As forms in which contraction does not occur he mentions nouns in which the initial letter is ת ,נ ,מ ,י ,ו ,ה ,א (such as תנובה ,נדר ,מעשה ,ישיבה ,ולד ,הלוך ,אחיזה), while the forms which do show contraction are those derived from these basic forms, but lacking the initial letters (such as: אחז (Judg. 20:6), לך ,ילד ,ישב ,יעשה ,תדר ,ינובון). Other pairs of words are listed there, such as שֵׁרִית (i Chron. 12:39) in which there is contraction as opposed to שְׁאֵרִית in which there is no contraction. The third part, al-Taṣrīf ("Inflection"), begins with a tripartite division of the parts of speech – noun, verb, particle – and with their definitions as accepted in Arabic grammar. Inflection for Saadiah Gaon is the faculty of a word: to occur with the servile letters; to occur with the ten possessors; and to have "tense" apply to it. He classifies the parts of speech according to their capacity for inflection as defined above, and calculates the number of forms which can theoretically be fixed at each level of classification and for each part of speech. For example, for the verb he calculated that there are 48 forms of simple inflection (without objective pronominal suffixes) and another 368 forms of compound inflection (with the objective pronominal suffixes) – 416 forms in all. The section closes with a table of forms for the inflection of the verb, followed by examples of forms of the verb from the Bible. The fourth part, al-Tašdīd wa al-Irkha ("Dageš and Rafeh"), deals with the ability of the letters to occur with the dageš or without it, treating the subject according to the various forms of inflection. The fifth part, al-Qawl fi al-Nagham ("The Vowels"), begins with assumptions – in his opinion, universal – concerning the phonetic structure of the word, and deals with the articulation of the vowels, surveying those which can occur together in one word containing two vowels. Also discussed in this section are the changes which occur in the vowels of a word when the concepts of plural, construct state, tense, and pause apply to it. The sixth part, al-Jazm ("The Šewaʾ"), deals with two types of šewaʾ: sākina (quiescent) and mutaḥarraka (vocal), the different qualities of the latter being described. The seventh part is called al-Ahruf wa- ה ,ח ,ע ,א ("the non-laryngeals and the laryngeals"), while the eighth is called ח ,ה ,ע ,א ("the laryngeals"). The two sections deal with two aspects of the same topic – the changes which are peculiar to the vocalization of the laryngeals, and the changes in vocalization which take place in the immediate context of laryngeals. He lists 50 changes in all. In the ninth part, al-Zawāʾid wa al-Lawāhiq ("Added Consonants and Expletives"), Saadiah Gaon deals with other types of additions, which are not instances of tafkhīm ("augmentation") in principle; yet in fact this section contains matters already discussed in the second part of the work. The interchangeable letters are dealt with in the tenth part. The pattern which Saadiah Gaon set down for Hebrew grammar is characteristically pioneering work, but it was not accepted by his successors; his ideas were only in part repeated in the works of later grammarians; yet two of them became the foundation of Hebrew linguistics. His division of the letters into base and supplemental became the basic assumption for the arrangement of the first dictionaries, and his division of words into three types – noun, verb, particle – with his definitions of them, became the very foundation for all grammatical discussion of the word. In particular his statements about letters, vowels, the šewaʾ, and the phonetic structure of the word were influential. However, the method by which he described the grammar of the word was too simplistic and too primitive. Most of the material which Saadiah Gaon collected in the second part as occurrences of augmentation was to be treated, beginning with Ḥayyūj, in chapters concerning the inflection of medial waw verbs, geminate verbs and quadri-radicals. Most of the occurrences of contraction cited there are treated, beginning with Ḥayyūj, under the inflection of prima ʾalef, prima yod, and final he verbs. However, even in the grammar of the word the grammarians accepted some of his basic suppositions: for example, that when confronted by a great number of different occurrences in the text, the grammarian must differentiate and describe the relations between usūl (basic forms) and furūʿ (secondary forms which he can represent as branching out from the first), and also describe the relations between the various basic forms. This differentiation is the starting point for all grammatical description. Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ applied it to all items of grammar.

works of hayyuj on weak and geminative verbs

Monographs written on decided grammatical subjects are the works of Ḥayyūj, above all his two works on weak and geminative verbs. In these works Ḥayyūj formulated the rule that every Hebrew verbal root consists of at least three letters. This is based upon the concept which Ḥayyūj had, following the Arab grammarians, concerning the phonetic structure of the word. According to this concept a word consists of letters which cannot be uttered except as accompanied by one of the vowels; a word cannot consist of one consonant, but must be always of two at least, the one which begins the word being always accompanied by a vowel (and hence a mobile letter), while the letter which closes it (a quiescent letter) is never accompanied by a vowel. Between the opening mobile consonant and the concluding quiescent consonant, a mobile letter or letters or even a quiescent consonant or consonants can occur. In any event, two quiescent consonants will not occur successively unless preceded by a mobile letter. (According to this concept, a word such as דָוִיד contains two quiescent letters, the yod and the second dalet, preceded by the mobile letter וִ.) This concept opened the way for the classification of the letters according to their mobility or quiescence, which Ḥayyūj formulated as follows. All letters of the alphabet can occur in mobile or quiescent form. However, with regard to quiescence there is a difference between (י ,ו ,א(ה, and all the other letters, which are "visible" when they are quiescent, that is, both written and pronounced. In contrast to them (י ,ו ,א(ה can at times be "hidden": though found in the structure of the word, they are not realized in its pronunciation and sometimes not even in its written form. Thus in the word קָאם (Hos. 10: 14), the ʾalef is quiescent, hidden in the pronunciation but visible in the writing; in the word קָם this ʾalef is equally quiescent, but hidden both in pronunciation and in writing. So too, a word such as וְאַתִּיקֶיהָא (Ezek. 41: 15) ends with a quiescent ʾalef hidden in pronunciation but visible in the writing, while the word אֵלֶיהָ ends with a quiescent ʾalef hidden both in pronunciation and writing. These two assumptions – that every root consists of at least three radicals and that the letters (י ,ו ,א ,(ה, are distinctive with regard to their quiescence – formed a descriptive framework for the discussion of the roots that include one of these four letters. These roots, like all those in the language, consist (according to the very definition of the concept "root") of three radicals. In the actual verb forms derived from these roots, one finds that these letters occur in mobile or in "visibly" quiescent form (as do all the other letters in the language). However, they sometimes occur as hidden quiescent letters or, more precisely, are hidden in the pronunciation but visible in the writing, as with the yod in בָּנִיתָ; and at times they occur hidden both in pronunciation and orthography, as does the initial yod of the root in the word תֵּשֵׁב. The grammarians who preceded Ḥayyūj, comparing a form such as יָשַׁב with a form like תֵּשֵׁב, and seeing that the yod, present in the first word, is missing from the second form, concluded that in these words, too, the yod is not a root letter, and accordingly fixed the root as a bi-radical: שׁב. Ḥayyūj, according to his suppositions, analyzed the case differently: The root always consists of at least three letters, in this case ישב. The absence of the yod in the form does not mean that it cannot be considered a root letter. It is simply missing from some of the actual forms derived from this root, and compensation needs to be made for its absence. This compensation he finds, for example, in "elongation" (madd), as in the case of the ṣere under the taw in תֵּשֵׁב. Ḥayyūj assumes, therefore, the existence of hypothetical tri-radical roots and a complete table of conjugations of basic forms (aṣliyya), in which there are no missing letters. He establishes the base forms by analogy with the parallel forms of the "sound" verbs which include the four letters under discussion:

These base forms either do not occur in the biblical text, or occur in it as exceptional forms from which one can neither draw analogies nor derive rules. Yet only in relation to these hypothetical base forms can one describe the actual forms. Ḥayyūj seeks to explain the difference between the actual form (תֵּשֵׁב) and the hypothetical form (תִּיְשֵׁב) which is adduced by analogy with the basic form (תִּפְעַל), by a certain number of devices, such as: (1) the deficiency and its compensation; (2) the substitution of one letter for another; (3) assimilation and the gemination which follows it. In the actual description concepts were created: the first, the medial, and the final radical of the root, respectively. Following the convention of the Arab grammarians, these concepts were denoted by reference to the three letters of the root פעל, as follows: the letter which occupies the position of the pe, the ʿayin, and the lamed. If all four of the weak letters occurred in all three positions of the root as hidden quiescents, Ḥayyūj would have to deal with 12 groups of roots. However, he considers that there are only four groups of verbs whose roots contain weak letters, namely:

1) the prima ʾalef

2) the prima yod

3) verbs with a medial weak radical

4) verbs whose final radical is weak.

These are in effect the four chapters of the first work of Ḥayyūj: Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn. Defective forms also occur for verbs whose roots contain ixdentical second and third radicals; these are dealt with in the second work of Ḥayyūj: Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt al-Mithlayn. Having established a theoretical framework to deal with the derivation and conjugation of the weak verbs, Ḥayyūj goes on to explain why analogy does not apply to the verbs whose roots contain weak letters. He bases his expldanation on the postulate that in Hebrew there is difficulty in pronouncing the ((ו ,י ,א(ה, quiescently and therefore these letters were "hidden," that is, not pronounced. He also included a dictionary of weak verbs, classified according to the groups mentioned above. For every root he listed the derivative verb forms, in each instance explaining the actual forms which, according to his suppositions, differed from the analogous base form.

the kitĀb al-lumaʿ of ibn janĀḥ

The most profound and comprehensive grammar is Kitāb al-Lumaʿ by Ibn Janāḥ. According to the author this work constitutes a whole only together with the two above-mentioned works of Ḥayyūj, and with his own smaller works. For the subjects of the 45 (46) chapters, see *Ibn Janāḥ. It is possible to get some idea of the scope of the work by classifying its chapters according to the pattern of traditional grammar accepted today. The work begins with the division of parts of speech, with which his predecessors had already dealt, but he improves the definitions of Saadiah Gaon and their logical foundation. The different types of expressions are also classified in this chapter. Matters of pronunciation are considered in 13 chapters: a discussion of the letters, each one's place of articulation, and its position in the word, whether as base or supplemental letter. The meanings of the supplemental letters are given the most detailed discussion of this topic extant. Interchange of letters is also treated, as well as assimilation, the marking with a dageš, and the mappiq he of the third person feminine pronominal suffix. Vocalization, too, is discussed: interchange of vowels, the changes which occur in vocalization because of the laryngeals, the vocalization of the conjunctive waw (including waw conversive), and of the interrogative he. This concludes the issues of pronunciation. The grammar of the word – derivation and accidence – is treated in 13 chapters; the formation of the word, i.e., the derivation and the accidence of the verb and the noun, is treated in a unit which runs for five chapters. Pronominal suffixes, relation (nisba), plural and dual forms, determination and indefiniteness, genders and numbers, are also discussed. The other chapters of the work deal with topics which are today included under syntax and rhetoric. Seven chapters are devoted to syntactical topics, including apposition, government of the verb, the construct case, and agreement in gender. Five chapters cover rhetoric: ellipsis, pleonasm, repetition, inverse order – forward or backward. Five of the six remaining chapters discuss classified groups of exceptional occurrences which the grammarian cannot include under any of the rules which he fixed or formulated. Therefore he uses an operative device called taqdīr (surmise), by means of which he expresses the intention of the written form, thus removing the exceptional character of the occurrences, so that they fall under one of the rules which he has established. Finally, in chapter 34 (35), he deals with all the linguistic means for expressing the question, that cannot be included in any of the accepted linguistic divisions. This attempt to present the subjects of the work according to the main topics of accepted grammatical thought does, indeed, give some idea of the scope of the grammatical study of Ibn Janāḥ, but it is likely to distort his division of the material and the methodological principles underlying it. Ibn Janāḥ did not divide grammar into the accepted sections of today, such as phonology, morphology, and syntax. We have seen that in chapter 34 (35) he deals with all the means (letter, particle, word) to express various types of questions. This is the way he treats other matters too, such as "compensation" (badal), which he treats in a unit of successive chapters: interchange of letters in chapter 6 (7), interchange of vowels in chapter 7 (8), and apposition in chapter 8 (9). From this point of view chapter 31 (32), dealing with changes in order, is interesting. It begins with a change in the order of the letters within a word (כשב–כבש), proceeds to deal with verbs in which the order of the weak letter changes (ייטיב–טוב ;יסופו–ספתה), and ends with a change in the order of the words, such as עַל הָרִים יַעַמְדוּ מָיִם (Ps. 104:6), which means (he claims) עַל מַיִם יַעַמְדוּ הָרִים.

the grammatical works of period iii

The aim of the grammatical works written in period iii (1150–1250) was to express in a concise Hebrew version the content of the works of Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ. Adaptations made in the West include the works of Abraham ibn Ezra, Parḥon, and the Kimḥis; and in the East, the works of Isaac ha-Levi b. Eleazar: Sefat Yeter and Rikmah. There are only meager innovations of principle in these works; rather, they attempt to consolidate a permanent framework for the discussion of grammatical issues. Hence they emphasize the mechanical and paradigmatic aspects of the grammar of the word.

Sefer Ẓaḥot by Abraham ibn Ezra.

This tendency is already noticeable in Sefer Ẓaḥot of Abraham ibn Ezra (1145), whose contents are as follows: Chapter 1 deals with the vowels, the šewaʾ, nominal patterns and poetic meter, which are based upon the vowels and the šewaʾ. Chapter 2 deals at length with the letters: their names, forms, pronunciation, and use. There follow several chapters on parts of speech: the particles, the noun (including the numerals), and the verb. The author deals extensively with the bi-radical verbs and the conjugations (binyanim). After a short digression in which he discusses words composed of two words or two forms, he deals with quadri-radical verbs. At the end of the work there is a short discussion of exceptional forms from the Bible. The main methodological innovation which Abraham ibn Ezra made in Sefer Ẓaḥot as compared with Kitāb al-Lumaʿ is the discussion of poetic meters; other authors followed in his footsteps, especially in period iv.

Sefer Zikkaron by Joseph Kimḥi.

This work, divided in two parts, resembles Sefer Ẓaḥot in its scope. The order of the discussion in the first part is as follows: the letters according to their pronunciation and use, the formative letters at the beginnings and ends of words, the grammatical categories of the verb, the assimilated letters, the vowels, parts of speech, nominal patterns, and numerals. The second part begins with a discussion about fixing the root, proceeds with the regular verb according to its conjugations (binyanim), and comments upon special forms of binyanim and compound forms, the prima yod, quiescent verbs, verbs with assimilated prima yod, prima nun, verbs with medial waw, medial yod and final he, verbs with assimilated ends, and geminate verbs. The chapter concerning the vowels in Sefer Zikkaron (ed. Bacher (1888), 17–19) is most interesting. Joseph Kimḥi determines there that the number of vowels in Hebrew (in addition to the šewaʾ) is ten: five long and five short. For each long vowel there is a corresponding short vowel: for qameẓ gadol (ָ) the pattaḥ gadol (ַ) is the corresponding short vowel; the correspondent for ṣere (ֵ) is segol or pattah qatan (ֶ); for ḥolem (וֹ, ֹ,) the correspondent is qameṣ ḥataf (i.e., qameṣ qatan (ֳ)); the correspondent to šuruq with waw (וּ) is šuruq without waw, a vowel whose name is qibbus sefatayim (ֻ); and the correspondent of ḥireq with yod (יִ) is ḥireq without yod (ִ). Joseph Kimḥi stated that "with regard to the manner of recitation" the long vowels are treated with "pause and delay" while for the short vowels "you should always be speedy in their reading." In spite of that the long vowels are not lengthened if the stress of the word is near them. That means that the qames of -שָׁ is not lengthened except in the last of the following three examples: וְשָׁמַרְתָּ ,שָׁמַרְתָּ ,שָׁמַר. In any event, if a letter vocalized with a šewaʾ follows the long vowel, then the long vowel is lengthened. Thus there would be a lengthening of the וֹ in the word שׁוֹמְרִים, but not in the word שׁוֹמֵר. The short vowels themselves are not short when they precede a mobile laryngeal, such as in the word יַעֲשֶׂה By this system there is no difference in pronunciation between שַׁאֲלוּ (the imperative) and שָׁאֲלוּ (the perfect). The scholars of the second half of the 19th century considered this theory to be an essential innovation in comparison with the theory of the seven kings (vowels) as found in the masorah literature and in that of the grammarians who preceded Joseph Kimḥi. Instead of the theory of the seven kings, which seemed to them to be basically a system of qualities only, the theory of Joseph Kimḥi appeared to be a system consisting of ten vowels which are distinguished from each other by five qualitative contrasts (i, e, a, o, u) and by a contrast in quantity (long:short). They also felt that besides deviating from that of the seven kings, the theory of Joseph Kimḥi is rather forced with regard to the Sephardi pronunciation in the Torah reading. Doubts have been expressed concerning this accepted idea; see Ben-David (Leshonenu, 1958). Popularized by Kimḥi's sons in their works, this vowel theory and division was accepted by most of the grammarians of period iv, and is found in Hebrew textbooks to this day.

Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Daʿat by Moses Kimḥi.

An important step toward the consolidation of a firm systematic framework for the practical discussion of the grammar of the word was taken in Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Daʿat by Moses Kimḥi. This short work discusses mainly the definitions, the conjugation tables, citing a few examples. The order is as follows: 1. parts of speech, the grammatical categories of the verb, the letters, rules of the dageš qal, the stress, the vowels, and the šewaʾ; 2. the types of nouns, the patterns and their declensions; 3. the conjugation of the verb according to the binyanim; the weak verbs: prima nun, prima ʾalef, prima yod, medial waw, final ʾalef, final he, geminate and quadri-radical verbs; verbal suffixes; other rules about pronominal suffixes. In the main part of the work – the formation of the verb – the paradigmatic system is especially prominent. The book gained wide distribution because of its practical nature, being used especially by Christians for the study of Hebrew. Elijah Levita added a commentary, Sebastian Muenster translated it into Latin, and it was printed many times.

Mikhlol by David Kimḥi.

The climax of the attempts to systemize the discussion of the grammar of the word and to fix the study of the verb at its center is Mikhlol of David Kimḥi. The work begins with the division of the parts of speech, and correspondingly consists of three parts: Sha'ar Dikduk ha-Pe'alim ("The Chapter on Verbs," covering 66% of the work), Sha'ar Dikduk ha-Shemot ("The Chapter on Nouns" – 30% of the work) and the chapter dealing with particles, which covers only 4%. The subjects discussed include: 32 forms of conjugation of the basic verb stem, the qal; transitive and intransitive verbs; the formation of the binyanim and their meanings; conjugation tables of the verb in qal with the objective pronominal suffixes; a digression concerning the servile letters and their meanings, and an appendix on the omission of letters and other kinds of ellipsis; and the forms of conjugation of the other binyanim. Between the conjugations of the binyanim there are digressions concerning exceptional forms of conjugation. The weak verbs appear according to their forms and are listed alphabetically after the manner of Ḥayyūj: first verbs whose initial letters are assimilated (prima yod, prima lamed, prima nun), preceded by a discussion of assimilation. Then follow the weak verbs, preceded by a discussion of the special rules for the weak letters. The section on the verb concludes with the quadriliteral and quinqueliteral verbs. The section on the noun covers vocalization (vowels, šewaʾ), types of nouns, nominal patterns classified according to morphological groups: regular nouns; weak nouns. Under the regular noun are listed the simple patterns, followed by patterns with a suffix and those with a prefix. The declension of each nominal pattern is discussed. The weak patterns occur in the following order: initial defective; initial, medial, and final quiescent; both defective initial and quiescent final; final ʾalef; quiescent initial and final; geminate nouns: and quadriliteral and quinqueliteral nouns. The section dealing with the particles is arranged alphabetically.

maʿaseh efod by profiat duran

Of all the works of the fourth period (from the middle of the 13th century until the beginning of the 16th century) the most important is Maʿaseh Efod by Profiat Duran, written in 1403. The volume comprises a long introduction (including interesting data for the study of the history of education among the Jews), 32 chapters, and a further chapter as a supplement. The first five chapters deal with the "causae" of the language in the terms of the accepted scheme of the Middle Ages following Aristotelian philosophy: chapter 1, the nature of language; chapter 2, its purpose; chapter 3, "the cause efficiens"; chapter 4, its divisions (the three parts of speech); chapter 5, its elements (the letters, vowels and cantillation signs). Three other introductory chapters follow: on the organs of speech and the production of sounds; on the fate of Hebrew after it was "the most perfect of languages"; here he maintains that about 2,000 roots remain, some 1,000 of them being used for deriving verbs; and on the science of language, which according to his definition includes grammar, rhetoric, and poetics. The actual work begins with chapter 9, which deals with the grammatical categories that apply to the noun. Chapter 10 treats the infinitive, chapters 11 and 12 cover the grammatical categories that apply to the verb, while chapter 14, interchange of letters and of vowels; chapter 15, the binyanim of the verb; chapter 16, the qal; chapter 17, piʿel; chapter 18, hif ʿil; chapter 19, poʿel (intensive); chapter 20, nif ʿal; chapter 21, hitpaʿel; chapter 22, those verbs "whose agents are not mentioned" (puʿal, hof ʿal); chapter 23, forms compounded from various binyanim, and quadri-radical verbs; chapter 24, nominal patterns; chapter 25, the fixing of the roots of verbs, nouns, and particles; chapter 26, the pronouns; chapters 27–29, exceptions (ellipsis, additions, change of order) which Ibn Janāḥ had already discussed in Kitāb al-Lumaʿ; chapter 30, the particles; chapter 31, the letters בגדכפ״ת; chapter 32, the pronunciation of the written word, and hence important testimony concerning the Sephardi pronunciation in the reading of the Torah; chapter 33 (supplement) explains why Hebrew was called "the holy language." By virtue of its scope and its excessive fondness for theoretical discussion this work constitutes something of a revolt against the narrow pattern that David Kimḥi established in the Mikhlol, which until then had ruled supreme in linguistic literature. Maʿaseh Efod is on the one hand an attempt to return to the actual sources of linguistics (the works of Ibn Janāḥ and Ḥayyūj), and on the other hand it is an attempt to base Hebrew grammar on the late-medieval scholastic philosophy of the Christian West. The grammar of Profiat Duran and the dictionary Ratukot Kesef of Joseph ibn Kaspi, who preceded him, were destined to move linguistic literature out of the standstill and barren stereotyped ways which had prevailed under the influence of Mikhlol of David Kimḥi. Yet the influence of Maʿaseh Efod was limited; in the 15th century the empiricism of Mikhlol was re-established.

mikneh avram by abraham de balmes

At the very end of period iv, in 1523, Mikneh Avram was published. Chapter 1 offers a definition of Hebrew grammar, and classifies the elements of language into two types: the simple elements (the letters and vowels) and the compound (the syllables, words, and compound statements). Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the simple elements. Chapter 2 discusses the letters, their number, respective names, written forms and places of articulation, their classification both in relation to themselves and in relation to the words made from them (the base and the servile letters, compensation for letters, similarity and differences between letters, the combinations of the letters, i.e., possible and impossible combinations); chapter 3 deals with vocalization, the number of the vowels, their form and pronunciation, the rules of vocalization, and compensation for vowels. Chapters 4–6 deal with the grammar of the word. Chapter 4 begins with the classification of the parts of speech and deals with the grammar of the noun – the division of the nouns according to their meanings, and nominal patterns. Chapter 5 discusses verbs, their division into binyanim, their gezarot, and analysis. Chapter 6 deals with particles. Chapter 7, headed "Compositio et Regimen," is the first attempt in the history of linguistic literature to describe the syntax of Hebrew in the operative terms of syntax as shaped by Latin linguistics. Chapter 8 deals with pronunciation, penultimate and ultimate stress, and the maqqaf; and at the end there is an appendix by Kalonymus b. David on cantillation.

Through the arrangement of its discussions, this work constitutes the first attempt ever made – and not without success – to gather the grammatical teachings as they had crystallized in Hebrew linguistics under the influence of Arabic linguistics, side by side with the grammatical system which underlies the accepted description of Latin. It thus established a new tripartite pattern for the discussion of Hebrew grammar, comprising phonology, morphology, and syntax. In the chapter Compositio et Regimen de Balmes set up a new framework for the discussion of topics which had been scattered throughout previous works, such as the uses of the servile letter, pronouns agreement of gender and number, and government of the verb. On the other hand, he deals systematically with new topics, such as the combination of nouns with verbs, combination of nouns with other nouns, the agreement of noun (subject) and verb (predicate), and combination with the aid of particles. Through the talent of his pen De Balmes brought the system of concepts of syntax into Hebrew linguistics. By virtue of its originality and innovations, Mikneh Avram was the most important work in linguistic literature since Kitāb al-Lumaʿ. Since its structure deviates from the works discussed hitherto, this work opened up a new era in the history of this Hebrew literature.

the study of linguistic literature

Fields of Activity

Research concerning linguistic literature has thus far concentrated upon three main activities: a. the publication of the works; b. discussion of the general course of development of this literature; c. discussion about the various authors, the course of their lives, their works, and their part in the development of Hebrew linguistics. A concise survey is given below.

Publication of the Works

This began soon after the invention of printing and has continued until today. Thus, for example, Arukh of Nathan b. Jehiel was one of the first Hebrew books published prior to 1480. Similarly, Nofet Ẓufim of Judah b. Jehiel, Messer Leon, was printed before 1480, in Mantua. Sefer ha-Shorashim of R. David Kimḥi was published in Rome before 1480 as well. In 1492 the book Petaḥ Devarai, whose authorship has not been established with certainty, was printed. In the first half of the 16th century this activity included not only the works of authors of that century (such as Elijah Levita, Abraham De Balmes and others), but also relatively old works: in 1508 Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at of Moses Kimḥi was published, in 1511 Kiẓẓur he-Arukh appeared in Cracow and in the years 1532/1534 Mikhlol of David Kimḥi was issued in Constantinople. The activity of Elijah Levita throughout the entire first half of the 16th century is especially striking. Not only did he publish his own works and his commentaries to the writings of the Kimḥi brothers, but he also edited a collection of grammatical works which he published in 1546 under the title Dikdukim. Following his introduction, the volume includes these works: Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at by Moses Kimḥi; Petaḥ Devarai; ẓaḥot and Moznayim of Abraham ibn Ezra; Sefer Harkavah and Pirkei Eliyahu of Elijah Levita; and Marpe Lashon and Darkhei No'am of Moses b. Ḥabib. From then till the end of the 18th century virtually none of the early works were published, except those of the Kimḥi brothers and Abraham ibn Ezra; and when publication of the older works did resume the order in which they were issued was the opposite of that in which they were written: works produced in the 12th century were published before those of the tenth century and the Hebrew translations were published before their Arabic originals. Most of the works of Abraham ibn Ezra were published at the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th; Maḥberet he-Arukh of Parhon was published in 1844, Maḥberet of Menaḥem in 1854, and the Teshuvot of Dunash and the "decisions" of Jacob b. Meir Tam were printed a year later. Until 1844 not even one Hebrew translation of a work written originally in Arabic appeared in print. In 1844 Leopold Dukes published Abraham ibn Ezra's translation of the works of Ḥayyūj, while the Arabic originals of Ḥayyūj were not printed until near the end of the century: Kitāb al-Tanqīt by Nutt (1870), his two main works by Jastrow (1897). In 1856 B. Goldberg published the Sefer ha-Rikmah of Ibn Janāḥ in the Hebrew translation of Judah ibn Tibbon, while the Arabic original Kitāb al-Lumaʿ was published by Derenbourg(-Bacher) only 30 years later (1886). Until the 1850s not one work was published in its entirety in its Arabic original. Munk published the introduction of Ibn Janāḥ to his Kitāb al-Lumaʿ (Journal Asiatique, 1850–51). In 1857 Bargés-Goldberg published the Risāla of Judah ibn Quraysh – the first manuscript of an Arabic-written treatise on Hebrew linguistics to be issued in its entirety. In the 1860s selections from the works of the Karaite authors were published (Pinsker, 1860) as well as Ḥotam Tokhnit of Bedersi, Ma'aseh Efod of Profiat Duran (both in 1865), the "objections" to Saadiah Gaon which are attributed to Dunash (Schroeter, 1866), the "objections" of the students of Menaḥem and those of the student of Dunash (Stern, 1870). All this activity, which extended from the end of the 18th century to the end of the 1860s, is to be considered, from the point of view of modern editorial technique, as initial attempts; the publications do not meet present-day editorial standards and most of the works need to be republished. In the last 30 years of the 19th century the actual sources of Hebrew linguistic literature were published; between 1870 and 1897 the works of Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ were produced in their Arabic originals and with their Hebrew translations. The editions of Ḥayyūj are: Nutt (1870), Jastrow (1897). The works of Ibn Janāḥ were published by Neubauer (1873–75), Derenbourg (1880), Derenbourg-Bacher (1886); Bacher (1897); and from then until the present there has been a continuous attempt at improving the printed versions of these works; Bacher (zdmg, 1884, 1888) published corrections for the Neubauer Usūl edition (1873–75), and then (jqr, 1899) his corrections for the Jastrow edition of the two main works of Ḥayyūj (1897); Kokowtzow (1911; see bibl.) published his corrections to the Derenbourg edition of the opuscules of Ibn Janāḥ (1880); Wilensky (1929–31, 550–63), published his corrections to the Derenbourg(-Bacher) edition of Kitāb al-Lumaʿ (1886); Razhabi (Leshonenu, 1966) listed variant readings to Neubauer (1875). Also published at the end of the 19th century were Sefer Zikkaron of Joseph Kimḥi (Bacher, 1888), remnants of Kitāb al-Muwāzana of Ibn Barūn (Kokowtzow, 1890–93), the anonymous work from Yemen (Neubauer, 1891), four chapters from Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa al-Mudhākara of Moses ibn Ezra (Kokowtzow, Vostoĭniya Zametki, 1895). In the 20th century there was a more intensive effort to publish the sources which were written in Arabic: Kokowtzow (1916) published remnants of the works of Samuel ha-Nagid, Ibn Gikatilla and Judah ibn Balʿam, additions to Kitāb al-Muwāzana, a remnant of the works of Nethanel al-Fayyumi (?) and also small selections from pseudo-Ibn Yashush. Skoss (1936–1945) published Kitāb Jāmiʿ al-Alfaz of David b. Abraham Alfāsī; he also published (jqr, 1942, 1952) large sections of Kutub al-Lugha by Saadiah Gaon. Klar (Saadiah Gaon, 1943) and Allony (Sefer Goldziher, 1958) published the original text of Saadiah's Kitāb al-Sabaʿīn Lafẓa al-Mufrada; Zislin (1962, 1965, see bibl.), published a selection from al-Kāfi by Abū al-Faraj Hārūn; and Allony (1969) issued the remnants of the Agron of Saadiah Gaon. The effort to publish works which were originally written in Hebrew has also continued: Levinger (1929) produced Darkhei ha-Nikkud of Moses b. Yom Tov; Ben-Menahem (1941) published eight pages missing from the missing version of Safah Berurah by Abraham ibn Ezra; Yalon (1945) published Halikhot Sheva of Almoli; Gumpertz (Leshonenu, 1958) published a chapter from Ein ha-Kore of Jekuthiel b. Isaac ha-Kohen; Yalon (1965) published Shekel ha-Kodesh; Allony (1966) issued Derekh La'asot Ḥaruzim of David b. Yom Tov ibn Bilia. Some of the works printed in the 19th century were reedited in the 20th: Wilensky (1924) republished a part of Safah Berurah by Abraham ibn Ezra; Klar (1946) again published the first part of Sefer ha-Shoham of Moses b. Isaac which Collins had already published (1882) and added a second part which had not been printed until then; Allony (1949) published a new selection from Kitāb al-Taḍkīr wal-Ta'nith of Moses ha-Kohen ibn Gikatilla together with the sections which Kokowtzow had printed (1916). Abramson (1963) published sections from the Arabic original of Kitābal-Tajnīs of Ibn Balʿam together with the part published by Kokowtzow (1916). Allony (1964) published new selections from Kitāb al-Tajnīs and from Ḥuruf al-Maʿāni by the same author. The most important work published in the 20th century, however, after it had already appeared in print is Sefer ha-Rikmah of Ibn Janāḥ, which Wilensky reissued (1929–31); and a second edition of the work was printed in Jerusalem in 1964. Especially notable was the publication of a rich selection from the linguistic literature of Samaritan authors which Ben-Ḥayyim published (1957). Despite this extensive work of publication, knowledge of Hebrew linguistic literature is still defective. Some of the works have been completely lost and we only know of them from mention of their names; of others only quotations exist. Even the works of Ḥayyūj, Ibn Janāḥ, and Samuel ha-Nagid – have not reached us in complete form: the works of Samuel ha-Nagid were almost entirely lost, as was the Kitāb al-Tashwīr of Ibn Janāḥ; from the translations made by Solomon b. Joseph ibn Job of Kitāb al-Taswī'a and Risālat al-Tanbīh only small parts remain. For further publications in the field up to 1984 see D. Téné, "The State of the Art in Hebrew Linguistic Literature," in Meḥqarim be-Lashon 8 (2001), 19–37 (in Hebrew). Latest research achievements are listed below, in the division "Authors and their Works," sections 1, 2, 5–9, 11–15, 22, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 36, 39, 45, 55, 58, 62, 63, 66, 67, 75, 85, 87, 92, 94.

General Development of Linguistic Literature

Abraham ibn Ezra gave the first survey of the authors who lived prior to the middle of the 12th century and of their works, in the introduction to his Sefer Moznayim. Some of the later authors followed in his footsteps – e.g., Parhon, Joseph and David Kimḥi, Profiat Duran, and De Balmes. In modern times a few surveys of the general process of development of Hebrew linguistic literature have been written. Dukes (1844) reviewed what was known to him about a few of the authors mentioned by Abraham ibn Ezra – 14 in all: Saadiah Gaon, Dunash b. Tamim, Ibn Quraysh, Menaḥem, Dunash b. Labrat, Ḥayyūj, Hai Gaon, Isaac Gikatilla, Isaac b. Saul, Ibn Janāḥ, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Samuel ha-Nagid, Moses ibn Gikatilla, and Ibn Balʿam. Munk (Journal Asiatique, 1850–51) supplemented this review with many details, especially concerning the Karaite commentators who lived about the time of Saadiah Gaon. Neubauer (Journal Asiatique, 1861–63) reviewed the lexicographers of whom he knew from Saadiah Gaon until Saadiah ibn Danān (the end of the 15th century), but he refrained from discussing dictionaries for post-biblical Hebrew and the dictionaries of synonyms. From among the authors who lived after Abraham he discusses Isaac ha-Levi b. Eleazar, Al-Ḥarizi, Salomon b. Parhon, Jacob b. Meir Tam, Jacob b. Eleazar, the Kimḥi family, David ha-Yevani, Joseph ibn Kaspi, and Saadiah ibn Danān. Lerner (Ha-Shaḥar, 1876) is more comprehensive: he reviews the authors and their works from the beginning of linguistic literature until Solomon Levinsohn at the beginning of the 19th century. The authors are arranged in chronological order. He lists all the Rabbanite writers known to him and he mentions incidentally the famous authors found among the Karaites and the Christians. But Rabbanite authors who wrote their works in Arabic are only incidentally mentioned. These four surveys are outdated, though, and can no longer serve as reference surveys. Bacher (1892, see bibl.) served for a long time as the authoritative review of linguistic literature from its beginning until the 16th century. In his survey he included a bibliographical list up to the year 1890 and an index of names containing over 70 authors or translators. Bacher (zdmg, 1895) is the first attempt to discuss in a historical-critical manner the grammatical issues found in the talmudic and midrashic literature, in Sefer Yeẓirah, in the masorah literature, and especially in the work of Aaron Ben Asher; he is equally the first to discuss similarly the main grammatical theories of the early authors from Saadiah Gaon to Ḥayyūj (but not including him). Rozenak (1898) reviews the authors and their works from Ḥayyūj to David Kimḥi, but does not add to Bacher (1892). Hirschfeld (1926; see bibl.) reviews grammatical literature and lexicographers (10th–16th centuries). He mentions the latest research achievements, especially by Kokowtzow (1916, see bibl.). Azar (1927, see bibl.) is a Hebrew translation of Bacher (zdmg, 1895). The work of Yellin (1945, see bibl.) resembles Bacher's (zdmg, 1895); the ideas of grammarians and lexicographers until Ḥayyūj (but not including him) are also reviewed there. Chomsky (jqr, 1944/45) examines the period ending with David Kimḥi with regard to its contribution to the history of linguistic literature. Meirowsky (1955) surveys the study of Hebrew from the beginning until the mid-20th century. For this period, the corresponding chapters add nothing beyond Hirschfeld.

[David Téné]

Monographs on Authors and their Works

Some of the authors were the subjects of monographs in which bio-bibliographical issues were discussed and sometimes even their efforts within the history of Hebrew linguistics were described. The following are the more important:

Saadiah as grammarian – Skoss (1955, see bibl.) and Dotan (1997; below section 1); Saadiah as lexicographer – Allony (1969, 15–139, see bibl.). Alfāsi – Skoss (1936). Menahem – Gross (1872), Del Valle (1981) and Sáenz-Badillos (1986). Dunash – Sáenz-Badillos (1980) and Del Valle (1981). Ibn Nuh – Khan (2000). Ḥayyūj – Drachmann (1885), Jastrow (1885), Kokowtzow (1916, Russian part, 1–73, see bibl.), Poznański (jqr, 1925/6), Goldenberg (1980), Watad (1994), Basil (1992), and Martinez Delgado (2004). Abū-al-Faraj Hārūn – Skoss (jqr, 1927, 11–27), Zislin (1960, 208–12, see bibl.), Khan et al. (2003). Ibn Janāḥ – Bacher (1885), Becker (1999) and Maman (2004). Samuel ha-Nagid – Kokowtzow (1916, Russian part, 74–194). Moses Gikatilla – Poznański (1895), Kokowtzow (1916, Russian part, 95–201). Ibn Balʿam – Fuchs (1893), Kokowtzow (1916, Russian part, 201–215), Abramson (1975). Ibn Barūn – Kokowtzow (1893), 1–158, see bibl.), idem (1916, Russian part, 216–33), Wechter (joas, 1941), idem (1964, see bibl.) and Becker (2005). Judah Halevi's statement about the Hebrew language (Kuzari, ii, § 66–80) – Bacher (Hebraica, 1893) and R.C. Steiner, "Meshekhha-Tenu'ot be-'ivrit – Te'urim ve-Teoriot me-Hieronemos 'ad R. Yehudah ha-Levi le'Or ha-Polmos ha-Dati," in Meḥqarim be-Lashon, 8 (2001), 203–8. Rashi as grammarian – Englander (huca, 1930, 1936, 1937–38, 1942–43); Rashi as lexicographer – I. Avineri, Heikhal Rashi (i 1980, ii 1985). Judah Hadassi – Bacher (mgwj, 1895). Moses ibn Ezra, his poetics – Schreiner (rej, 1890). Diez-Macho (Sefarad, 1944–45, 1947–51). Abraham ibn Ezra as grammarian – Bacher (1882). Parḥon – Bacher (zaw, 1890/91), Del Valle Rodriguez (1977a, 1977b, 2001), Sáenz-Badillos (2001); idem and Paton (2002). Jacob Tam – Englander (huca, 1940. Joseph Kimḥi – Blueth (mwj, 1893), Eppenstein (mgwj, 1896/97). David Kimḥi – Tauber (1867); his Mikhlol – Chomsky (1952). Tanḥum – Goldziher (1870), Bacher (1903) and Shay (1975). Samson Nakdan and the other nakdanim – Zunz (Zur Geschichte und Literatur, 1845, 109–18), Eldar (1979) and Ben Menachem (1987). Profiat Duran – Gronemann (1869). Saadiah ibn Danān – Blumgrund (1900); Jiménez Sánchez (1996) and Del Valle Rodriguez (2004). Elijah Levita – Levi (1881), Bacher (zdmg, 1889), Weil (1963).

Miscellaneous Topics

Some of the works published in the past hundred years have tried to clarify problems of a literary historical nature, such as: Is Dunash b. Labrat the author of the "objections" against Saadiah which are attributed to him and were they originally written in Hebrew? Is Judah Ḥayyūj the same as Judah b. David, a student of Menaḥem? Who is the author of the additions in the translation made by Ibn Gikatilla of the works of Ḥayyūj and when were they added? Who is the author of Shekel ha-Kodesh – and so on. Only a small part of the works deals with actual aspects of linguistics, such as comparison of languages, vowel theories, terminology, etc.

authors and their works

Excluded from the following list are those works which are part of the Masorah literature, those which belong to biblical exegesis, and others, such as the Kuzari of Judah Halevi or Guide of the Perplexed by Maimonides, which treat language matters among other issues. The authors have been arranged in chronological order as far as possible, within periods of 50 years. Titles created by contemporary editors are indicated by +. A short description of the work follows each title, together with the place and year of publication, and, as far as possible, the editor is noted as well. Critical editions are noted by "crit. ed." and regular editions by "ed."

900 c.e.

1. *saadiah gaon:

Sefer ha-Egron or Kitāb Uṣūl al-Shiʿr al-ʿIbrānī. This is the first work on Hebrew lexicography and the first dealing with rules of Hebrew poetry. Two editions are known: the first written in 902 in Hebrew and the second, an expanded version, produced a few years later. A few remnants have survived, representing a fourth or fifth of the total. Crit. ed. N. Allony (Jerusalem, 1969); for a serious textual correction see A. Dotan, "Qeta' Hadash mi-Sefer Egron," in: Leshonenu, 45 (1981), 163–212.

Kitāb Faṣīḥ Lughat al-ʿIbrāniyyīn or Kutub al-Lugha ("Book of Elegance of the Language of the Hebrews," or: "Books on the [Hebrew] Language"). Written in Arabic, it is the first book dealing with biblical grammar, and written in Hebrew. No complete copy is extant, but the surviving material was published: ed. Harkavy, in Ha-Goren (1906), 31–32; crit. ed. Skoss, in jqr (1942), 171–212; ibid. (1952), 283–317; crit. ed. A. Dotan, Or Rishon be-Hokhmat ha-Lashon – Sefer Zahot Leshon ha-'Ivriyyim le-Rav Saadiah Gaon (1997).

Kitāb al-Sabʿīn Lafṣa al-Mufrada. A brief lexicographical essay written in Arabic which treats some of the hapax legomena of the Bible, explained with the aid of rabbinic Hebrew. It has been published incompletely several times and most recently: crit. ed. N. Allony, Sefer Goldziher (Jerusalem, 1958), 1–48 (includes 96 hapax legomena). For new fragments see A. Dotan, "A New Fragment of Saadiah's Sab'in Lafzah," Jewish Quarterly Review, 80 (1989–1990), 1–14; I. Eldar, Leshonenu, 58 (1995), 215–34.

+ Alfāḥ al-Mishna. A small lexicological work which contains a list of difficult words from the Mishnah translated into Arabic. This list is arranged not alphabetically, but in the order of the tractates, chapters, and mishnayot. The surviving material (134 entries) was published: crit. ed. Allony, Leshonenu (1952–53), 167–78; (1954), 31–48; (1958), 147–72; but see Abramson, Leshonenu, 36 (1954), 49–50.

+ Alfāẓ al-Talmūd (?). A lexicological work of which no part is extant. Its very existence and identification are still in need of study.

In addition, there are many linguistic issues scattered throughout the commentary of Saadiah Gaon on Sefer Yeẓirah – ed. Lambert (1891); in his translation and commentary of the Bible, and in the various criticisms made against his works.

2. judah *ibn quraysh:

Risāla. A work which compares biblical Hebrew to Aramaic, mishnaic Hebrew, and Arabic; ed. Bargès-Goldberg (Paris, 1857); Hebrew translation under the title of Iggeret by Katz (1952); crit. ed. and Hebrew translation D. Becker (1964).

A comprehensive dictionary of biblical Hebrew, lost in its entirety, even its name being unknown (cf. Kokowtzow (1916, Russian part, p. 95, n. 2; Skoss (1936), p. lxii, n. 87 (cr. 41)); Y. Blau (ej, s.v. Ibn Quraysh) holds, however, that this was not an independent work but rather the third part of the Risāla.

3. dunash *ibn tamim:

A work comparing Hebrew to Arabic (and Aramaic) with regard to vocabulary; likewise lost, even as regards its name. Bacher, in zdmg (1907), 700–04, published part of an anonymous work believing that it was part of this study.

4. david b. abraham *alfasi:

Kitāb Jāmiʿal-Alfaz or al-Agron. The most comprehensive dictionary of biblical Hebrew and Aramaic of the tenth century, possibly written in Jerusalem between 930 and 950, and the most important dictionary by a Karaite. It was written in two versions, the shorter of which was published: crit. ed. Skoss (1936); idem (1945); while a chapter of the longer version was published by him in jqr (1932–33), 1–43. Other selections from the longer version, of moderate length, were published as a supplement to the abovementioned publication of the shorter version.

5. *menahem ben saruq:

Maḥberet. The first dictionary of biblical Hebrew and Aramaic written originally in Hebrew, and also the first dictionary produced in Spain; ed. Filipowski (London, 1854). For clarification of the text according to an old and reliable manuscript see Kaufmann, in zdmg (1886), 367–409; crit. ed. A. Sáenz-Badillos, Menaḥem Ben Saruq, Mahberet (Granada, 1986); see also A. Maman, "Menaħem ben Saruq's Maħberet – The First Hebrew-Hebrew Dictionary," in: Kernerman Dictionary News 13 (2005), 5–10, and the bibliography listed.

6. *dunash b. labrat:

Criticism of the Maḥberet of Menaḥem known by the name of "The Objections of Dunash to the Maḥberet of Menaḥem," written in Hebrew, contains 180 objections; ed. Filipowski (London, 1855); crit. reed. of introduction, Allony, Beit Mikra (1965), 45–63; crit. ed. A. Sáenz-Badillos, Teshuvot de Dunash ben Labrat, Edicion critica y traduccion Española (Granada, 1980).

(?) Criticism of the linguistic works of Saadiah Gaon, attributed to Dunash b. Labrat, and extant in a very Arabicized Hebrew. The problems of the authorship of the book and the language in which it was written have not yet been settled; ed. Schroeter (Breslau, 1866); see, however, C. Del Valle Rodriguez, La Escuela Hebrea de Córdoba (Madrid, 1981), 133–136, 624–633; Y. Oshri, "R. Abraham ibn Ezra, Sefer ha-Hagana 'al Rav Saadiah Gaon" (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan Univ., 1988), 7–9, 26–29; R. Chazon (Master's thesis, Tel Aviv Univ. 1995). According to Del Valle Rodriguez (ibid.), the title's original work was Tiqqun haš-šegagot.

7. students of menahem: isaac *ibn kapron, isaac ibn *gikatilla, judah b. david (da'ud):

A criticism in Hebrew of Dunash b. Labrat (see section 6 above). It contains in all about 50 replies to the objections which he made against the Maḥberet of Menaḥem; ed. Stern (Vienna, 1870); crit. ed. S. Benavente Robles, Teshubot de los discipulos de Menaḥem contra Dunash ben Labrat (Granada, 1986). A "major criticism" in this work is directed against Dunash because he began the practice of writing Hebrew poems in the Arabic (quantitative) meter. This is the first known discussion in which Arabic and Hebrew are compared with regard to metrics. The "major criticism" has been printed several times.

8. yehudi b. sheshet (or: shishat):

A small work in which this author gave 41 replies to the objections of the students of Menaḥem (7.1.); ed. Stern (Vienna, 1870), together with 7.1; crit. ed. M.E. Varela Moreno, Yehudi Ben Seshet, Teshubot de Yehudi Ben Seshet, Edition traduccion y comentario (Granada, 1981).

9. *joseph b. noah:

Abū al-Faraj Hārūn ibn al-Faraj (see section 12) mentions a work of his by the name (Kitāb) al-Dikduk, part of which has been preserved (cf. Bacher, in rej (1895), p. 251); crit. ed. G. Khan, The Early Karaite Tradition of Hebrew Grammatical Thought Including a Critical Edition, Translation and Analysis of the Diqduq of 'Abū Yūsuf ibn Nūh on the Hagiographa (Leiden, 2000).

10. abu saʿid *levi b. japheth:

This author condensed the long version of al-Agron of David b. Abraham Alfāsi (see section 4). An incomplete manuscript and fragments are located in St. Petersburg, but have not been published (cf. Skoss (1936), cxxxv–cxxxvii).

1000 c.e.

11. judah b. david, known as *ḤayyŪj:

Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn. An essay on the grammar of the verb, dealing with verbs which have as a radical of their roots ʾalef, waw, or yod and as the third root letter he. The work, in Arabic, contains theoretical introductions and lexicons arranged alphabetically for the verbs with initial ʾalef or yod, medial waw, and final he; (crit.?) ed. Jastrow (Leiden, 1897).

Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt al-Mithlayn. A work, also in Arabic, dealing with grammar of double radical verbs, with a theoretical introduction, followed by a lexicon of double radical verbs in alphabetical order; (crit.?) ed. Jastrow (Leiden, 1897), together with Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn. The material of these two works has been the subject of several studies, among them G. Goldenberg, "'Al ha-Shokhen he-Ḥalaq ve-ha-Shoresh ha-ʿIvri," in: Leshonenu, 44 (1980), 281–92; A. Watad, Mishnato ha-Leshonit shel R. Yehuda Ḥayyūj mibbe'ad le-Munnahav bi-Meqoram ha-ʿAravi uv-Targumam ha-ʿIvri (1994); N. Basil, The Grammatical Theory of Rabbi Judah Ḥayyūj (in Hebrew; Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan Univ., 1992); J. Martínez Delgado, El Libro de Hayyūý (Granada, 2004).

Kitāb al-Tanqīṭ ("The Book of Vocalization"). Perhaps his first work, it deals with the vowels, both in relation to the letters used with them, and in relation to the accent, especially in segholate nouns. It is written in Arabic; ed. Nutt (London, 1870), together with Gikatilla's Sefer Otiyyot Ha-No'ah ve-ha-Meshekh and Sefer Po'olei ha-Kefel and Ibn Ezra's Sefer ha-Nikkud. A new fragment of the Arabic original has been published by I. Eldar, Mehqarim be-Lashon, 8 (2001), 141–81.

The fourth work of Ḥayyūj is a linguistic-grammatical exegesis to the eight books of the Prophets. Some fragments have been published by Allony, Abramson and Eldar. This material has been republished along with new fragments by N. Basil, Kitāb al-Nutaf le-Rabbi Yehuda Ḥayyūj (2001).

Concerning the translation of the works of Ḥayyūj into Hebrew see Moses ha-Kohen Gikatilla (section 21) and Abraham ibn Ezra (see section 36).

12. *abu al-faraj hĀrŪn ibn al-faraj:

Kitāb al-Mushtamil ʿalā al-Uṣūl wa al-Fusūl fi al-Lugha al-ʿIbrāniyya ("The Comprehensive Book on the Roots and Branches of the Hebrew Language"). A comprehensive work on linguistics, the most important written by a Karaite grammarian. Its composition (in Arabic) broke off in 1026. It has been preserved in manuscripts in St. Petersburg, one of them containing 579 pages. This work has undergone condensations, which have in turn been condensed. Only brief selections have been published: Hirschfeld, Arabic Chrestomathy in Hebrew Characters (London, 1892), 54–60; Pozńanski, in rej (1896), 24–39, 197–218; (1908), 42–69. Abū Al-Faraj's grammatical theory has been studied in several articles of M. Zislin, A. Maman, and N. Basil. For references see the bibliography in A. Maman, Comparative Semitic Philology in the Middle-Ages: from Saadia Gaon to Ibn Barūn (10th–12th cent.) (Leiden, 2004), 484–85.

Al-Kitāb al-Kāfi fi al-Lugha al-ʾIbrāniyya ("The Adequate Book on the Hebrew Language"). A kind of compendium of Kitāb al-Mushtamil (see Abū al-Faraj, section 12). The complete Arabic manuscript located in St. Petersburg contains 400 pages. Fragments: crit. ed. Zislin, Palestinskiy Sbornik (7 (70), 1962), 478–84; idem, Kratkiye Soobshcheniya, 86 (1965), 164–77; crit. ed. G. Khan et al., The Karaite Tradition of Hebrew Grammatical thought in its Classical form: A Critical Edition and English Translation of Al-Kitāb Al-Kāfi fi l-Luġa l-'Ibrāniyya by 'Abū al-Faraj Harūn ibn al-Faraj (2003).

Al-Mukhtaṣar (The Digest), another compendium made out of Al-Kitāb al-Kāfi. See Khan, ibid. i, p. xxx.

Kitāb al-ʿuqūd fi Tasārīf al-Lugha al-ʿIbraniyya. Perhaps a further condensation of Al-Kitāb al-Kāfi; a selection has been published: ed. Hirschfeld, in jqr (1922–23), 1–7.

Hidāyat al-Qāri (Guidance of the Reader): see: I. Eldar, The Study of the Art of Correct Reading as Reflected in the Medieval Treatise Hidāyat al-Qāri (in Hebrew; Jerusalem 1994).

13. *hai b. sherira:

Kitāb al-Ḥāwi ("The Collecting Book"). A Hebrew dictionary written in Arabic in which the roots are arranged according to the order of an anagram. Small selections from it have been published: ed. Harkavy, Ḥadashim Gam Yeshanim, 7 (1895–96), 3–5; idem, Mi-Mizrahu-mi-Ma'arav, 3 (1896), 94–96; S. Abramson, in: Leshonenu, 41 (1977), 108–116; A. Maman, Tarbiz (2000). Other parts, also from the Cairo Genizah, are in preparation for publication.

14. jonah *ibn janĀh:

Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq (Sefer ha-Hassagah; "The Book of Criticism"). The express purpose of this book (finished in 1012) is to complete the two works of Ḥayyūj (Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn and Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt al-Mithlayn), though this completion is accompanied by critical additions. It was written in Arabic and translated into Hebrew by Obadiah ha-Sefardi (see section 46): (crit.?) ed. Derenbourg, Opusculeset traités (Paris, 1880); a critical edition of Obadiah ha-Sefardi's Hebrew version has been prepared by Téné and brought to press by A. Maman.

Kitāb al-Taswiʾa (Sefer ha-Tokhaḥat; "The Book of Rebuke," or Sefer ha-Hashva'ah). A reply to the objections, which had reached Saragossa, made by Samuel ha-Nagid and his friends against Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq (see above). It was written in Arabic and translated into Hebrew by Solomon ibn Job (see section 58): (crit.?) ed. Derenbourg, Opuscules et traités (Paris, 1880).

Kitāb al-Tashwīr (Sefer ha-Hakhlamah; "The Book of Shaming"). A reply to the criticism which Samuel ha-Nagid had voiced against Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq in Rasāil al-Rifāq (see section 15). This work was written in Arabic, and it is not known whether it was translated into Hebrew: A selection appears in Derenbourg, Opusculeset traités (Paris, 1880); a new fragment was identified and published by M. Perez, in: Kiriat Sefer, 64 (1993), 1367–87; see also I. Eldar, in: Mehqarimba-Lashon ha-'Ivrit u-vi-Lshonot ha-Yehudim Muggashim li-Shlomo Morag (1996), 41–61.Risālat al-Tanbīh (trans. by Judah ibn Tibbon as Sefer ha-He ʿarah; "The Book of Admonition"). A reply to a work of criticism against Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq (see above) which was called Kitāb al-Istīfāʾ ("The Book of Completion," "The Book of Detailed Treatment") and composed in Saragossa. Risālat al-Tanbīh was written in Arabic and translated into Hebrew by Solomon ibn Job (see section 58: (crit.?) ed. Derenbourg, Opuscules et traités (Paris, 1880).

Risālat al-Taqrīb wa al-Tashīl (Iggeret ha-Keruv ve-ha-Yishur; "The Epistle of Bringing Near and Making Easy"). A kind of explanation for beginners of difficult passages in the introductions of Ḥayyūj to his two works on verbs (Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn and Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt al-Mithlayn). A Hebrew translation of the Arabic original was made by Jacob b. Isaac Roman in the first half of the 17th century (cf. Bacher in his introduction to Sefer ha-Shorashim (1897), xxxii (see section 42 below)), but no copy of it has survived. The work was published as (crit.?) ed. Derenbourg, Opusculeset traités (Paris, 1880).

Kitāb al-Tanqīḥ (Sefer ha-Dikduk; "The Book of Detailed Investigation"). The first complete description of biblical Hebrew, written in Arabic in the 1040s. No other work written by a Jew can be compared to it in scope and theoretical foundation. It consists of two parts:

Kitāb al-Lumaʿ (Sefer ha-Rikmah; "The Book of Colored Flowerbeds"), a grammar of biblical Hebrew: (crit.?) ed. Derenbourg (-Bacher; Paris, 1886).

Kitāb al-Uṣūl (Sefer ha-Shorashim; "Book of [Hebrew] Roots"). A dictionary of biblical Hebrew: (crit.?) ed. Neubauer (Oxford, 1873/5); beside the additions and corrections mentioned above, chap. "Publication of the Works," see also J. Blau, in: Leshonenu, 37 (1973), 232–33. The two parts of Kitābal-Tanqīh were translated into Hebrew by Judah ibn Tibbon (cf. section 42, Sefer ha-Rikmah and Sefer ha-Shorashim). D. Becker, Meqorot 'Arviyyim le-Diqduqo shel R. Jonah ibn Janāḥ (Tel Aviv, 1999) and Maman (2004; above section 12) are among the latest research achievements on Ibn Janāḥ.

15. *samuel ha-nagid (b. nagdela):

Rasāʾil al-Rifāq (Iggerot ha-Ḥaverim or ha-Ḥaverut; "Epistles of the Companions," or: "of Companionship"). A polemical work in Arabic against some of the comments which Ibn Janāḥ made in his Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq (see section 14) concerning the works of Ḥayyūj. Parts of it have been preserved in St. Petersburg, and one small selection was published: Derenbourg (Paris, 1880), lix–lxvi (cf. section 14: Risālat al-Taqrīb wa al-Tashīl).

Kitāb at-Ḥujja ("Book of Evidence"). A polemical work in Arabic in reply to the Kitāb al-Tashwīr of Ibn Janāḥ (See section 14:Kitāb al-Tashwīr). No part of the book has survived, but it was mentioned by the Nagid himself and by Judah ibn Balʿam (see section 22).

Kitāb al-Istighnāʾ ("Book of Amplitude"). A large dictionary of biblical Hebrew, in Arabic. Small parts which have been preserved in St. Petersburg have been published: crit. ed. Kokowtzow (Petrograd, 1916), 205–24. Large quotations from the book have been found in an anonymous commentary to Psalms and published by M. Perez, Shenaton le-Ḥeqer ha-Miqra ve-Hamizraḥ ha-Qadum, 12 (2000), 241–87. Z. Ukashy used Hanagid's poetic language usages to reconstruct some of his lost lexical definitions; see Ukashy's dissertation, "Hannagid's Dictionary based on his Poetry" (in Hebrew; Jerusalem, Heb. Univ., 1998).

16. solomon ibn *gabirol:

Anak ("Necklace"). A didactical poem on Hebrew grammar, 98 verses out of the original 400 are known and have been published: Egers, Zunz Jubelschrift (1884) Hebrew part, 192–96; re-ed. Bialik-Rawnitzki, vol. 1 (Berlin, 1924), 173–80.

17. *abraham ha-bavli:

A lexicographical work, only a part of which has been preserved and published: ed. Neubauer, Journal Asiatique, 2 (1863), 195–216.

18. *david (ha-dayyan) ibn hajjar:

Abraham ibn Ezra mentions him, saying that he produced a work known as Sefer ha-Melakhim, apparently on the vowels, but it has not been preserved. Moses ibn Ezra calls him Abū Suleimān ibn Muhāgīr (cf. Bacher on ibn Ezra (1882), 185; Neubauer (1963), 202).

1050 c.e.

19. *ibn yashush, isaac:

Kitāb al-Taṣārīf (Sefer ha-Ẓerufim; "Treatise on Conjugations"). Abraham ibn Ezra mentions it, but the work has not been preserved. The selections published by Derenbourg, Opuscules (1880), and Kokowtzow (1916) in fact belong to another work, which perhaps had the same name, but is of a later date (see section 24). Kokowtzow called the latter work "Pseudo-Ibn Yashush" (cf. Bacher on Ibn Ezra (1882), 186).

20. eli b. israel:

He made (in 1066?) a further condensation from the one made by Levi b. Japheth (see section 10) of the long version of al-Agron by Alfāsi (see section 4 above). It exists in manuscript (cf. Skoss (1936), cxxxvii–cxxxix).

21. *moses ha-kohen *gikatilla:

Sefer Otiyyot Ha-No'aḥ ve-ha-Meshekh ("Treatise on [Verbs Containing] Feeble Letters").

Sefer Po'olei ha-Kefel ("Treatise of Verbs Containing Double Letters"). A Hebrew translation of the two works of Ḥayyūj on the weak verbs (Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt Ḥurūf al-Līn and Kitāb al-Af ʿāl Dhawāt al-Mithlayn); one of the first translations from Arabic to Hebrew, and the first such translation of the works of a Jewish grammarian: ed. Nutt (London, 1870).

Kitab al-Tadhkīr wa al Ta'nith (Sefer Zekharim u-Nekevot; "Treatise on Masculine and Feminine Genders"). A monograph in Arabic concerning nouns in the Bible whose usage deviates from the accepted rule with regard to gender. Two selections have been published: crit. ed. Kokowtzow (Petrograd, 1916), 59–66; it was published with an additional selection (altogether about one tenth of the monograph) and a modern Hebrew translation: crit. ed. Allony, Sinai (1949), 34–67.

22. *judah ibn balʿam:

Kitāb al-Tajnīs ("The Book of Homonyms"). As far as we know this is the first monograph concerning homonyms. It was written in Arabic with the entries in an alphabetical-dictionary order, and some of the surviving material (139 entries) has been published: crit. ed. Kokowtzow (Petrograd, 1916), 69–108; crit. re-ed. Abramson, Sefer Yalon (1963), 51–149; Allony, Beit Mikra (1964), 87–122.

Kitāb Ḥurūf al-Maʿanī (Sefer Otiyyot ha-Inyanim; "Book of Particles"). A lexicon of the particles of Hebrew, written in Arabic, selections of which have been published: crit. ed. Kokowtzow (Petrograd (1916), 109–32; Allony, Beit Mikra (1964), 87–122.

Kitāb al-Af ʿāl-Mushtaqqa min al-Asmāʾ ("The Book of Verbs Derived from Nouns," Verba denominativa). A lexicon of verbs derived from nouns, written in Arabic, and published in part: crit. ed. Kokowtzow (Petrograd, 1916), 133–52.

An anonymous translation is extant of the three works of Ibn Balʿam, parts of which have been published at various places and several times. The translation of Kitāb al-Af ʿāl-Mushtaqqa min al-Asmāʾ was published by: Polak, in Ha-Karmel, 3 (Vilna, 1862–63), 212, 229–230; Goldberg, in Ḥayyei Olam (1878–79), 53–61; Hirschensohn, Hamisderonah (Jerusalem, 1885), 21–23; 42–47. The translation of Kitāb Ḥurūf al-Maʿanī was published by Fuchs, Hahoker (Paris, 1892/93), 113–28; 193–206; 340–2; ibid., (Vienna, 1894), 73–83. It was later published by the editors of the above-mentioned Arabic original of the Ibn Balʿam works discussed here; the entire extant material from the philological books has been published by S. Abramson, Shelosha Sefarim shel Rav Yehuda ben Bal'am (1975).

23. lev *ibn altabban:

This author wrote a linguistic work which has been lost, even its contents remaining unknown. Abraham ibn Ezra and Elijah (Baḥur) Levita refer to it as Sefer ha-Mafte'aḥ; cf. Pagis, in Leshonenu (1963–64).

24. anonymous (pseudo-ibn yashush):

An anonymous work in Arabic which is a kind of long commentary on the linguistic work of Samuel ha-Nagid. It was believed to be the Kitāb al Tasārīf of Isaac Abū Ibrahim ibn Yashush but Ibn Yashush's work antedates it by a generation. Sections of the work were published by: Derenbourg, Opuscules (1880), xxxxi; Kokowtzow (1916, Russian part), in various places in the notes.

1100 c.e.

25. anonymous (Karaite)

An anonymous Karaite work in Hebrew entitled Me'orʾAyin, based on Abū Al-Faraj Harūn's grammatical theory (see section 12 above); crit. ed. M. Zislin (Moscow, 1990); review: A. Maman, in: Leshonenu, 58 (1995), 153–65.

26. isaac *ibn barŪn:

Kitāb al-Muwāzana bayn al-Lugha al-'Ibraniyya wa al-'Arabiyya. A monograph on the connection between Hebrew and Arabic, written in Arabic no earlier then 1080 and no later than 1128. It includes a short grammatical section and a long section on lexicography. About two-thirds of the monograph, which includes more than 600 dictionary entries, has been preserved, and published: crit. ed. Kokowtzow (Petrograd, 1890–93), 1–98; crit. ed. idem (1916), 153–72. A new Genizah fragment from this work has been discovered by A. Maman (see Otzrot Lashon – The Hebrew Philology Manuscripts and Genizah Fragments in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (in press), entry ms 8713.1 ms r1978.1; cf. also "Dictionaries and Glossaries from the Collection of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America: Introductory Notes," in: Leshonenu, 65 (2003), 303–14, esp. n. 17). D. Becker, Meqorot ʾArviyyim shel 'Sefer ha-Hashva'a bein ha-'Ivrit veha-'Aravit' le-Isaac ben Barun (2005), discovered the sources used by Ibn Barūn for the Arabic part of his work. He has also been preparing the entire text of Muwāzana for a new critical edition.

27. *ali ibn suleiman:

He made a further condensation of the one made by Abū Saʿid Levi b. Japheth (10.1) of the long version of al-Agron of Alfāsi (4.1); preserved only in manuscript in St. Petersburg; cf. Skoss (1936), cxxxix.

28. abraham ibn qamni'el (or: qanbil):

According to Joseph Kimḥi he wrote a Hebrew grammar, which has been lost.

29. *jacob b. elezar:

Al-Kāmil (Sefer ha-Shalem; "The Complete [Book]"). A work which apparently consisted of a grammar and a lexicon, referred to by David Kimḥi as Sefer ha-Shalem, and known in Arabic as al-Kāmil. Crit. ed. of the remnants of the work: N. Allony, Ya'aqov ben El'azar – Kitābal-Kāmil (1977) (cf. Bacher (1892), 110).

30. *natan b. jehiel of rome:

He-Arukh. A comprehensive dictionary of the Talmuds, the Midrashim, and of early geonic literature, written in Rome at the beginning of the 12th century, and preserved in several copies. It has been published many times; the first edition appeared before 1480; crit. ed. H.Y. Kohut, Arukh Completum (1879–1892); see also: S. Abramson, "le-Heqer he-Arukh," in: Leshonenu, 36 (1972), 122–49; 37 (1973), 26–42, 253–69; 38 (1974), 91–117.

31. abu ishĀq ibrĀhĪm b. faraj b. maruth:

Kitāb al Tawṣi'a (+Sefer ha-Maslul). A systematic work on the grammar of Samaritan Hebrew. According to Ben-Hayyim (1957), p. 30, it was written in the first half of the 12th century, and is one of the earliest works in the study of the language of the Samaritans. The author did not complete the work, but left only a small part lacking; crit. ed. Ben-Hayyim (Jerusalem, 1957), 3–127 (see especially 30–34).

32. menahem b. solomon:

Even Boḥan. A comprehensive work for the study of Hebrew, including a grammar, a dictionary (the main part) and a section on exegesis. It was written in Rome in 1143; cf. Bacher, Graetz-Jubelschrift (Breslau, 1887), 94–115. Fragments: ed. Bacher (mhlw (Oẓar ha-Sifrut), 1896), 257–63; idem, Ha-Goren, 4 (1903), 38–58.

33. nethanel (b. al-fayyumi?) of yemen:

A Hebrew (-Arabic?) grammar, written in Arabic, part of which has been published; ed. Kokowtzow (Petrograd, 1916), 173–89.

34. moses *ibn ezra:

Kitāb al-muḥāḍara wa almudhākara. The first work of poetics on Hebrew poetry, based on Arabic poetic theory: chapter 2 was published by Hirschfeld, Arabic Chrestomathy (1892), 61–63; the introduction and the first four chapters were issued by Kokowtzow (Vostochniya Zametki, 1895), 191–220. An early anonymous translation,Eshkol ha-Kofer, is cited by A. Zacuto, in Yuhasin (London (1857), p. 229). A free translation in modern Hebrew, entitled Shirat Yisrael (Berlin, 1924), was published by Halper; crit. ed. A.S. Halkin, Moshe ben Ya'aqov ibn Ezra – Sefer ha-'Iyyunim veha-Diyyunim (1975).

35. judah hadassi, the karaite:

Eshkol ha-Kofer. An encyclopedic work, in Hebrew, which includes an elaborate grammar based on Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ (begun in 1149): ed. Eupatoria (1836); inedited chapters ed. Bacher (jqr, 1896), 431–44.

36. abraham *ibn ezra:

Sefer Moznayim (or Moznei Leshon ha-Kodesh). An introduction to linguistics containing a survey of the grammarians who preceded him, a section on 59 grammatical terms and one on the conjugations of the verb; written in Rome in 1140; ed. Heidenheim (Offenbach, 1791; crit. ed. L.J. Paton, A. Sáenz-Badillos, Abraham Ibn 'Ezra, Sefer Moznayim, (Cordoba, 2002); J. Targarona Borras, "Conceptos gramaticales en el Sefer Mo'znayim de Abraham Ibn Ezra," Abraham Ibn Ezra Y Su Teimpo (Madrid, 1990), 345–52.

Sefer Otiyyot ha-No'aḥ.
Sefer Po'olei ha-Kefel.
Sefer ha-Nikkud

Translations of the three works of Ḥayyūj (see section 11): ed. Dukes (Frankfurt on the Main, 1844). Sefer ha-Nikkud was reprinted by Nutt (London, 1870), together with Gikatilla's Sefer Otiyyot Ha-No'aḥ ve-ha-Meshekh and Sefer Po'olei ha-Kefel, and Ḥayyūj's Kitāb al-Tanqīṭ.

A work in defense of Saadiah Gaon directed against the criticism attributed to Dunash b. Labrat (see section 6) mistakenly called Sefat Yeter and published under that name (cf. Wilensky, ks, 3, 1926/7, 73–77); ed. Bisliches (1838); ed. Lippmann (Frankfurt on the Main, 1843); crit. ed. of a genizah fragment, Allony, Leshonenu (1944–45), 218–22; crit. ed. Y. Oshri, R. Abraham ibn Ezra, Sefer ha-Hagana 'al Rav Saadiah Gaon (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan Univ., 1988); A. Sáenz-Badillos, "La Obra de Abraham ibn Ezra sobre las Criticas Contra Se'adyah," Abraham Ibn Ezra Y Su Tiempo (Madrid, 1990), pp. 287–294.

Sefat Yeter. A comprehensive systematic grammar for beginners (Lucca, 1140–45). Bacher on Ibn Ezra (1882), 8–17, thought it Sefer ha-Yesod (or Yesod Dikduk), which, in his opinion, was not extant: but Wilensky, ks (1926/27), 73–77, proved that it was Sefat Yeter. The introduction was published: ed. Bacher on Ibn Ezra (1882), 148–9; crit. ed. N. Allony, Yesod Diqduq hu Sefat Yeter me'et Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra (Jerusalem, 1984).

Sefer Ẓaḥot (Ẓaḥot). The main grammatical work of Abraham ibn Ezra, written in Mantua in 1145, which treats every grammatical topic; ed. Lippmann (Fuerth, 1827); crit. ed. C. Del Valle Rodriguez, Sefer Saḥot de Abraham Ibn Ezra I Edicion critica y version castellana (Salamanca, 1977); see also idem, La obra gramatical de Abraham Ibn Ezra (Madrid, 1977); L. Charlap, Innovation and Tradition in Rabbi Abraham Ibn-Ezra's Grammar according to his Grammatical Writings and to his Bible Exegesis (in Hebrew, 1995); C. Del Valle Rodriguez, "Le-Ba'yat Hibburei ha-Diqduq shel Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra," in: Mehqarim Be-Lashon, 8 (2001), 253–281; A. Sáenz-Badillos, "'al kamma 'amadot diqduqiyot shel R. Abraham ibn Ezra," ibid., 229–51.

1150 c.e.

Sefer ha-Shem (or Sefer ha-Shem ha-Nikhbad). Only in part a grammatical work. Of its eight chapters, the first three and the last two deal with personal names and adjectives; written in Béziers before 1155; ed. Lippmann (Fuerth, 1834).

Yesod Mispar. A short monograph about the numerals; written in Béziers before 1155; ed. Pinsker, in Mavo el ha-Nikkud ha-Ashuri, Vienna, 1863.

Safah Berurah. A grammar, apparently written in southern France; ed. Lippmann (Fuerth, 1839); crit. ed. Wilensky, Devir, ii (Berlin, 1924), 274–302 (incomplete); Ben-Menahem, Sinai (1941), 43–53, crit. ed. of the 8 missing pages of the Lippmann (1839) edition.

Sefer ha-Yesod (or Yesod Dikduk). (See Sefat Yeter, above.)

37. solomon ibn *parhon:

Maḥberet he-Arukh. A dictionary preceded by a grammar section, written in Hebrew (Salerno, 1161). It is almost a précis of Sefer ha-Shorashim by Ibn Janāḥ, with various additions taken from the works of Ḥayyūj, from Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq, and from Sefer ha-Rikmah; ed. Stern (Pressburg, 1844); inedited fragments: ed. Bacher, in zaw (1891), 96ff. and in zhb (1896), 59–61.

38. jacob b. meir (rabbenu *tam):

A work known as Hakhra'ot in which he set out to decide between Menaḥem and Dunash; ed. Filipowski (London, 1855, with the objections of Dunash).

A didactic poem on cantillation signs and vocalization: ed. Halberstam, in Jeschurun, 5 (1865), Hebrew part, 123–31.

39. *samuel ben meir (rasbham):

A grammatical work known as Dayqut is based on pre-Ḥayyūj grammatical theory, published by Yom-Tov Stein as "Shiyurei Yom Tov, Diqduq me-Rabbenu Shemuel u-Perusho 'al ha-Torah 'al pi ha-Diqduq," in: Jahrbuch des Traditionstreuen Rabbinerverbandes in der Slovaket (Tranava, 1923), i–vii, 33–67; crit. ed. R. Merdler, Dayyaqut MeRabbenu Shemuel [Ben Meir (Rashbam)] (Jerusalem 1999); Rashbam's grammatical theory has been studied in a dissertation by Merdler (Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 2004).

40. isaac ha-levi:

According to Judah ibn Tibbon, Ha-Levi wrote a book called Sefer ha-Makor. The work has been lost.

41. isaac b. judah (?) barceloni:

According to Judah ibn Tibbon, he translated the first part of Kitāb al-Uṣūl of Ibn Janāḥ, but the translation is not extant.

42. judah ibn *tibbon:

Completed the translation of Kitāb al Tanqīh of Ibn Janah in 1171.

Sefer ha-Rikmah. Translation of the Kitāb al-Lumaʿ of Ibn Janāḥ: ed. Goldberg (Frankfurt on the Main, 1856); French translation by Metzger, Le livre des parterres fleuris (1889); crit. ed. Wilensky (Berlin, 1929–31), second ed. Wilensky-Téné, Jerusalem, 1964.

Sefer ha-Shorashim. Translation of the Kitāb al-Uṣūl of Ibn Janāḥ; crit. ed. Bacher (Berlin, 1894–97).

43. joseph *kimḤi:

Sefer Zikkaron ("Book of Remembrance"). Together with the works of Abraham ibn Ezra, this is the first grammar written in Hebrew on the basis of the language study which had developed in Spain; interesting is his chapter on the division of the vowels into five long and five short ones; crit. ed. Bacher (Berlin, 1888).

Sefer ha-Galui. A reply to the "decisions" of Jacob b. Meir Tam (37.1); ed. Mathews (Berlin, 1887).

44. joseph haconstandini:

Adat Devorim. A work spanning the dividing line between masorah literature and linguistic literature (unpublished).

45. moses b. joseph *kimḤi:

Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at. A concise, schematic grammar based on the works of his father and Abraham ibn Ezra. Elijah (Baḥur) Levita published it in 1508, and it has been republished many times – according to Hirschfeld (1926), 82, thirteen (fourteen?) times during the 16th century alone; S. García-Jalón de la Lama y M. Veiga Díaz, Repertorio de gramáticas hebreas impresas en Europa en el siglo xvi (Salamanca 2000 = Helmantica 156), 615–18. Last edition Hamburg, 1785.

46. obadiah ha-sefardi:

Sefer ha-Hassagah. Translation of the Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq of Ibn Janāḥ Kitāb al-Tanqīt, so named by the translator. See above subentry Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq.

1200 c.e.

47. david b. joseph *kimḤi:

Sefer Mikhlol. A complete description of biblical Hebrew consisting of two parts:

(a) Mikhlol, originally entitled Ḥeleq ha-Diqduq. The most widespread grammar of the Hebrew language. It has been printed many times: Constantinople, 1525, 1532–34, 1533; Venice, 1545, accompanied by the comments of Elijah Levita: Fuerth, 1793; and Lyck, 1864.

(b) Sefer ha-Shorashim, originally entitled Ḥeleq ha-'Inyan. Based on the most widespread dictionary of the Hebrew Language, Kitāb al-Uṣūl of Ibn Janāḥ in the translation of Judah ibn Tibbon (see section 42). It was printed in Rome before 1480 and in Naples in 1490 and has gone through several editions, the last two ones, Berlin 1838 and 1847, the latter with the comments of Elijah (Baḥur) Levita.

Et Sofer. A short work on vocalization and cantillation signs; ed. Goldberg (Lyck, 1864).

48. anonymous:

Hebrew-French Glossary. Composed in the second quarter of the 13th century (1240–41?); crit. ed. Lambert-Brandin (Paris, 1905).

49. anonymous (david?):

A short work on grammar (second quarter of the 13th century). Poznański (1894) thought that the author had come from Greece and wrote the work in Prague. It begins with a division into three parts of speech and then briefly discusses the noun, verb, milliyyot (particles), and at the end vowels; ed. Poznański (Berlin, 1894).

50. anonymous:

(+ Ha-Meliẓ). A Hebrew-Aramaic-Arabic dictionary on the vocabulary of the Samaritan Pentateuch. According to Ben-Ḥayyim (1957), 65–73, the work was composed in two stages. In the first stage it was a Hebrew-Aramaic dictionary written at the latest at the end of the 10th or the beginning of the 11th century. The Arabic was added at the second stage by another writer, probably between the second half of the 11th and the beginning of the 14th century. Crit. ed. Ben-Hayyim (Jerusalem, 1957), 439–616.

51. moses (al-) roti:

In Darkhei ha-Nikkud (see below) Moses b. Yom Tov mentions a grammarian of this name; see Wilensky, huca (1936), 647–9.

52. moses b. yom tov:

Darkhei ha-Nikkud ve-ha-Neginot or Sha'arei ha-Nikkud. A work concerning vowels and cantillation signs; crit. ed. Lowinger, in: Ha-Ẓofeh leḤokhmat Yisrael (1929), 267–344.

53. abu sa'id b. abu al-hasan b. abu sa'id:

Kitābal-Qawanīn li Irshād al-Muta'llimīn. A book on correct pronunciation in the reading of the Pentateuch, composed toward the middle of the 13th century; first ed. Noeldeke (1862); crit. ed. Ben-Hayyim (Jerusalem, 1957), 131–69; and see especially 34–39.

1250 c.e.

54. *moses (b. isaac) b. ha-nesi'ah:

Leshon Limmudim. In the introduction to Sefer ha-Shoham (see below) the writer mentions that in his youth he wrote a grammatical work with this title.

Sefer ha-Shoham. The first grammatical work, based on the theory of Spanish grammarians, written by a Franco-German Jew; ed. Collins (London, 1882) – the first part; crit. ed. Klar (Jerusalem, 1946), the first and second parts (incomplete).

55. *tanḤum yerushalmi:

al-Murshid al-Kāfi ("The Adequate Guide"). A large dictionary written in Arabic for the Hebrew of the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides: ed. Toledano (Tel Aviv, 1961), part 1: letters א–כ. The letters ל–ש were edited by H. Shay as "Al-Murshid al-Kāfi – ha-Madrikh ha-Maspiq le-Rabbi Tanhum be-Rabbi Yosef ha-Yerushalmi" (dissertation, Heb. Univ. Jerusalem 1975). The letter taw was published: crit. ed. Shay, Leshonenu (1969), 196–207; 280–96. A crit. ed. of the entire dictionary has been prepared by Shay (in press).

56. judah al-Ḥarizi:

Ha-Mavo li-Leshon ha-Kodesh. According to Isaac ha-Levi b. Eleazar (55), Al-Harizi composed a work of this name (cf. Neubauer (1863), p. 205).

57. isaac ha-levi b. eleazar (?), isaac b. eleazar ha-levi (?):

Sefat Yeter. A yet unpublished condensed Hebrew translation of the two works of Ḥayyūj (11.1–2) and of Kitābal-Mustalḥaq by Ibn Janāḥ (14.1). Poznański in: mgwj (1895) 251–62, printed the introduction; cf. also Nutt (1870), x.

Ha-Rikmah. A collection of monographs on various grammatical and lexicographical issues which has remained unpublished.

58. solomon b. joseph ibn job:

Sefer ha-Hashva'ah, Translation of Kitāb al-Taswiʾa by Ibn Janāḥ under this in correct title (Béziers, 1264). Small parts have been preserved in manuscripts.

The manuscript has been described by M. Gaspar Remiro, "Los manuscritos de la Biblioteca Nacional," in: Boletín de la Real Academia Española, 6 (1919) 221–34, "Ms. 5460, fol. 1a-7b"; but several mistakes occurred in the description, which has been corrected by C. Del Valle Rodriguez, Catálogo Descriptivo de los Manuscritos Hebreos de la Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid, 1986), 35–40. The text has been published by J.M. Camacho Padilla, Rabi Yona Ben Gannah. La segunda mitad del Sefer Hahaxua, version hebraica de su Kitab al-Taswiya por Salomon bar Yosef ben Ayyub (Córdoba, 1929). See also C. Del Valle Rodriguez, Historia de la Gramática Hebrea en España, vol. 10, La gramática hebrea de Ibn Danán en la versión árabe y hebrea, (Madrid, 2004), 428.

Sefer ha-Ma'aneh. Translation of the Risālat al-Tanbīh of Ibn Janāḥ under this title.

59. abraham b. isaac *bedersi:

Ḥotam Tokhnit ("The Seal of the Well-Built Edifice"). The first dictionary of synonyms in biblical Hebrew; ed. Polak (Amsterdam, 1865).

60. meir b. david:

Hassagat ha-Hassagah. A work in defense of Ḥayyūj against the criticism of Ibn Janāḥ in Kitābal-Mustalḥaq; cf. Ma'aseh Efod (see section 78 below), pp. 116, 173.

61. samson:

A dictionary in which words are often translated into German.

62. samson ha-nakdan:

Ḥibbur ha-Konim or: Shimshoni. A work on vocalization ascribed by Ben-Yaakov to Samson (cf. Hirschfeld, 1926, n. 2); ed. Frensdorff (Hannover, 1865); I. Eldar, "Mi-Kitvei Askolat ha-Diqduq ha-'Ashkenazitha-Shimshoni," in: Leshonenu, 43 (1979), 100–11, 201–10; D. Ben Menachem, "Hibbur ha-Qonim ha-Shimshoni by R. Shimshon ha-Naqdan (13th cent.)" (Ph.D. thesis, U.S.A. 1987).

63. jekuthiel b. isaac ha-kohen (or: zalman nakdan of prague);

Ein ha-Kore. A work on vocalization; a section of the introduction was published by Hirschfeld (1926, app. iii) from Cod. Brit. Mus. Or. 853; and one chapter has been published, ed. Gumpertz, in Leshonenu (1958), 36–47, 137–46. The work has been studied by I. Eldar, Leshonenu, 40, 190–210; idem, Masoret ha-Qeri'ah ha-qedam Ashkenzit, I (1979), 191–96; idem, Massorot, 5–6, 10–16. A critical edition of the first part, The Grammar, has been published by R. Yarkoni, "'Ein Hakore li-Yequti'el ha-Cohen," 1–2 (dissertation, Tel Aviv Univ. 1985).

64. *mordecai b. hillel:

Wrote two poems on vocalization; ed. Kohn, in mgwj, 26 (1877), 167–71, 271–5.

65. joseph b. kalonymus:

Two poems on cantillation, one of which has been published, ed. Berliner (Berlin, 1886), under the name Ta'amei Emet ba-Ḥaruzim.

1300 c.e.

66. solomon b. mevorakh:

Kitab al-Taysir. A Karaite Hebrew-Arabic dictionary based mainly on Ya'acov b. Eleazar's Kitab al-Kamil, but on other sources too such as Alfāsi, Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ. The author is mentioned by the Karaite chronist Ibn Al-Hitti (G. Margoliouth, jqr, 9 (1897), 429–43). The dictionary is preserved in several manuscripts and has been prepared for publication by J. Martinez Delgado. See his article (in Hebrew) in Studies in Hebrew Language and Literature – Madrid Congress – Brit Ivrit OlamitProceedings of the 13th Hebrew Scientific European Congress, University of Madrid, August 1998, pp. 59–63.

67. benjamin b. judah of rome:

Hakdamah. A small work which served as an introduction and supplement to grammars in use in Italy, published as the introduction to Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at of Joseph Kimḥi (see section 45); cf. Bacher, in: rej (1885), 123–44.

Mavo ha-Dikduk [or: ha-Lashon]. Ed. by W. Heidenheim, Roedelheim (1806) cum Darkhei No'am; crit. ed. and Spanish translation by A. Sáenz de Zaitegui Tejero, "Una revisión crítica de la gramática en el siglo xiv: La הקדמה de Benjamín de Roma," in: Helmantica, 154 (2000), 167–88.

68. *immanuel b. solomon of rome:

Even Boḥan. 175 chapters in four parts, dealing with orthography, grammar, and other matters necessary for biblical exegesis, such as syncope, additions, and metathesis; cf. Bacher, mgwj (1855), 251–75.

69. *joseph ibn *kaspi:

Sharshot ha-Kesef ("Garlands of Silver"). A dictionary which attempts to base its definitions on logical theory; ed. Last, London, 1906. Its theory has been studied by C. Aslanov, "De la lexicographie hébraïque à la sémantique générale: la pensée sémantique de Caspi d'après le Sefer Šaršot ha-Kesef," in: Helmantica, 154 (2000), 75–120.

Ratukot Kesef ("Chains of Silver"). A grammar.

A commentary to Sefer ha-Rikmah which has been lost.

70. *joseph b. david ha-yevani:

Menorat ha-Ma'or. A dictionary with an introduction on grammatical issues: unpublished; excerpts: ed. Dukes, in: Literturblatt des Orients, 10 (1849), 705–9, 727–32, 745–7; 11 (1850), 173–6, 183–5, 215–8.

71. solomon b. samuel:

Sefer ha-Meliẓah (or Sefer Pitronei Millim: "The Book of Translation"). A Hebrew (Aramaic)-Persian dictionary composed in 1339 in Turkestan, to serve Persian-speaking Jews versed in Hebrew with translations of Hebrew and Aramaic words from the Bible, the Talmud, and the Midrashim. Fragments: ed. Bacher, in Jahresbericht der Landes-Rabbinerschule. Budapest (1900), Hebrew part, 1–76.

72. sar shalom:

solomon b. Abba Mari Yarhi (see section 75) mentions a grammarian of this name.

73. david b. yom tov ibn bilia:

Derekh La'asot Haruzim (?). A short work on poetry written in Provence during the middle of the first half of the 14th century. The title, known only from one manuscript, was possibly given by one of the copyists. The first work which lists 18 types of meters in Spanish poetry; crit. ed. Allony, in Kovez al Yad (1966), 225–46.

74. samuel benveniste:

Solomon b. Abba Mari Yarhi (see section 75) and Profiat Duran (see section 78) mention a grammarian of this name.

75. solomon b. abba mari yarḤi:

Leshon Limmudim. A grammar; small fragment, ed. Hirschfeld (1926), app. iv. A facsimile edition of the Parma MS 2776 of Leshon Limmudim along with an introduction by E. Goldenberg have been published (ed. B. Elizur, Jerusalem 1998) in honor of Z. Ben-Hayyim's ninetieth birthday.

76. anonymous,

from Yemen: Unknown author of an untitled work in Arabic, which deals with the letters, vowels, and cantillation signs; ed. Neubauer (1891).

An expanded Hebrew translation of the work noted in the previous paragraph, including certain grammatical chapters in which a few chapters of Kitāb al-Lumaʿ of Ibn Janāḥ (14.6.1.) were adapted, apparently from the Arabic original; ed. Derenbourg, Journal Asiatique (1890).

77. eleazar b. phinehas b. joseph:

Mukhtaṣar al-Tawti'a (Kiẓẓur ha-Maslul). An abridged adaptation of Kitābal-Tawti'a (Sefer ha-Maslul) of Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhim b. Faraj b. Mārūth (30.1) with additions by the adapter; crit. ed. Ben-Hayyim (1957), 170–221; see also 36–41.

1400 c.e.

78. isaac b. moses (also profiat *duran):

Ma'aseh Efod. A grammar written in 1403 comprising a long introduction, 32 chapters, and a supplement. The most important work since the Mikhlol of David Kimḥi, it was an attempt to base linguistics on scholastic philosophy; (?) crit. ed. Friedlaender-Hakohen (Vienna, 1865).

79. jehiel (?):

Makre Dardekei. A Hebrew-Italian-Arabic dictionary supplemented by the French and Provençal words used by Rashi and Kimḥi. The first of its type; ed. n. p. (1488).

80. joseph b. judah *zarko

Rav Pe'alim. A work dealing with the verb; Amsterdam (1730).

Ba'al Lashon. A dictionary.

81. isaac b. nathan kalonymus:

Me'ir Nativ or Ya'ir Nativ. The first Hebrew concordance of the Bible, after the manner of the Latin concordance by the Franciscan Arlottus of 1290. The work was intended to assist in debates with Christians, with regard to the evidence they cited from the Bible. Written from 1437 to 1445; ed. Venice, 1533; re-ed. Basel, 1581.

1450 c.e.

82. david b. solom *ibn yaḤya:

Leshon Limmudim. A grammar, influenced by David Kimḥi and Profiat Duran, which, however, takes the liberty of criticizing them; ed. Constantinople (1506) together with Shekel ha-Kodesh; 2nd impression Constantinople, 1579.

83. moses ben shem tov *ibn Ḥabib:

Peraḥ Shoshan. A grammar, quoted in Darkhei No'am and in Mikneh Avram of De Balmes (see section 93).

Marpe Lashon ("Healing of Speech"). A pamphlet concerning grammar; ed. Constantinople (beginning 16th century); re-ed. Elijah Levita (Venice, 1546) in Dikdukim; ed. Heidenheim (Roedelheim, 1806) cum Darkhei No'am.

Darkhei No'am ("Pleasant Ways"). Poetics based on Aristotle, and rules of meter; ed. Bomberg (1564); re-ed. Heidenheim (Roedelheim, 1806).

84. *judah b. jehiel (messer leon):

Livnat ha-Sappir. A grammar of 122 chapters written in 1454, influenced by Profiat Duran (78).

Nofet ḥufim. A long work on Hebrew rhetoric, based on Latin rhetoric as developed by Cicero and Quintilianus with regard to rules and terminology; ed. Mantua (1480); re-ed. Jellinek (Vienna, 1863).

The work Petaḥ Devarai is a grammar attributed to David Kimḥi or to David, the son of Judah b. Jehiel; ed. Naples (1492); ed. Elijah Levita (1546) in his Dikdukim.

85. *ibn danan, saadiah b. maimun:

Al-Ḍarūri fial-Lugha al-ʿIbrāniyya comprising a dictionary, a grammar, and rules of meter in poetry. It was completed in 1473, and translated by the author into Hebrew. Fragments: ed. Bacher, in rej, 41 (1901), 268–72; ed. Neubauer, in Melekhet ha-Shir (Frankfurt on the Main, 1865); M. Cohen, Ha-Haqdamot ha-Diqduqiyot le-Sefer ha-Shorashim shel Rabbi Saadiah ben-Maimon ibn-Danan (2000); crit. ed. C. Del Valle Rodriguez, La gramática hebrea de Ibn Danán en la versión árabe y hebrea, Historia de la Gramática Hebrea en Espanña, vol. 10 (Madrid, 2004).

Sefer ha-Shorashim. A Hebrew–Arabic dictionary, crit. ed. M. Jiménez Sánchez, Se'adyah ibn Danān, Sefer ha-Šorašim, Introducción, edición e indices (Granada, 1996); reviewed by A. Maman, Tarbiz, 68 (1999), 287–301.

86. solomon b. abraham of urbino:

Ohel Mo'ed. A concise lexicon of synonyms; ed. Venice, 1548; ed. Willheimer (Vienna, 1881).

87. david ben yesha' al-'adani:

Al-Jāmi' (ha-Me'assef) (or Sharḥ al-Alfāẓ). A Hebrew-Arabic dictionary, composed in Yemen between 1483 and 1486. Its entries are arranged according to the first letter (not according to their root) and based mainly on Maimonide's Mishneh Torah and his commentary to the Mishnah. A facsimile edition of one of the many extant manuscripts has been published (Jerusalem 1988), along with an introduction by Y. Tobi (pp. 175–187) and U. Melammed (pp. 188–189).

1500 c.e.

88. *reuchlin, johann:

Rudimenta linguae hebraicae. The first grammar written by a Christian to teach Hebrew to Christians. Written in 1506, it is attached to the Mikhlol.

89. elisha b. abraham b. mattathias:

Magen David ("The Shield of David"). Written in 1517, in defense of David Kimḥi, against 50 criticisms of Profiat Duran (78) and five of David ibn Yahya in the latter's Leshon Limmudim (82); ed. Constantinople, 1517.

90. samuel b. jacob:

Reshit ha-Lekah ("The Beginning of Learning"). A grammar divided according to eight parts of speech, which are defined philosophically. It also discusses the optative. Preserved in manuscript, it has not been printed (cf. Hirschfeld (1926), p. 98).

91. *almoli, solomon b. jacob:

Halikhot Sheva. A work about the rules of the šewaʾ naʿ and about nominal patterns. Written in Constantinople in 1520; crit. ed. Yalon (Jerusalem, 1945).

(?) Shekel ha-Kodesh. A work about poetics in 17 chapters, the first 14 with grammatical content. Printed in the Constantinople edition (1506) of Leshon Limmudim of David ibn Yahya (see section 82) as an anonymous work, and attributed by Allony and by Yalon, ks (1963–64), 105–8, to Almoli; crit. ed. Yalon (Jerusalem, 1965).

92. elijah b. asher (*levita, baḤur) amselijah b. asher (*levita, baḥur):

A commentary on Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at of Moses Kimḥi (45.1); Padua, 1504; ed. Pizaro, 1508; re-ed. Venice, 1546.

Baḥur. A work on the noun and the verb, supplemented by conjugation tables, written in Rome in 1517; ed. Rome, 1518; reprinted Isny, 1542 as Dikduk Eliyahu ha-Levi.

Pirkei Eliyahu. A supplement to Baḥur, partly rhymed. It deals with the letters and vowels, the number and gender of the noun, and the particles. Written in Rome in 1519; ed. Pisa, 1520; re-ed. Venice, 1546. In the latter edition a chapter on the classification of nouns was added.

Harkavah. A discussion of exceptional forms in the Bible, arranged alphabetically; written in Rome, 1517; ed. Rome, 1518; Venice, 1546. Study: A. Maman, "The Compound Words in the Eyes of Medieval Hebrew Philologists," Yaakov Bentolila Jubilee Volume (D. Sivan … P.I. Halevy-Kirtchuk, eds.), Eshel Beer-Sheva, 8 (2003), 277–95.

Meturgeman. A dictionary, for words in Aramaic Bible translations. Written in Rome between 1526 and 1531; ed. Isny, 1541.

Tuv Ta'am. A work on vocalization, the cantillation signs, and the masorah; written and ed. Venice, 1538.

Masoret ha-Masorah. The first systematic exposition and critical history of the masorah, and the first work to prove that the vocalization and cantillation signs are post-talmudic; written and ed. Venice, 1538.

Tishbi. A dictionary of 712 (=the arithmetical value of תשב״י) Hebrew entries in talmudic and post-talmudic language, written Venice-Isny (1540–41). This work contains many examples of the pronunciation and vocalization of talmudic and post-talmudic Hebrew words by German and Italian Jews; ed. Isny, 1541.

Nimmukin for Sefer Mikhlol (see section 47); ed. Venice, 1545.

Nimmukim for Sefer ha-Shorashim of David Kimḥi (see section 47); ed. Venice, 1547 (see A. Maman, Otzrot Lashon (section 26 above), introduction).

Sefer ha-Zikhronot. The first concordance of the masorah. Written in Rome, 1516–21, but unpublished; cf. Frensdorff, in: mgwj (1863), 96–110.

93. anonymous yemenite author:

A dictionary of the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, dealing only with the first two letters of the alphabet and based mainly on Tanhum Yerushalmi (see section 55); frag. ed. Nathan (Berlin, 1905; inaugural dissertation).

94. braham de *balmes:

Mikneh Avram. A long grammatical work; the first systematic attempt to introduce a long chapter with a complete description of syntax into a Hebrew grammar, and the most original work since the time of Kitāb al-Lumaʿ of Ibn Janāḥ; ed. Venice, 1523, with Latin translation; the last chapter (144a–155b), on cantillation, was written by Kalonymus b. David. This work has been studied very little; see D. Téné, "Abraham De Balmes and his Grammar of Biblical Hebrew," in: History of Linguistics (1996), vol. 2: From Classical to Contemporary Linguistics edited by D. Cram, A. Linn, E. Nowak, (Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 1999), 249–68.

95. sebastian *muenster:

Melekhet ha-Dikduk ha-Shalem. A grammatical work, written in 1542, and attached to the works of Elijah Levita (92); ed. Basle, 1542.

[David Téné /

Aharon Maman (2nd ed.)]

from the 16th century to the present

The Beginnings of Christian Hebrew Studies

The early 16th century is a turning-point in the history of Hebrew linguistics. There occurred then the sudden efflorescence of the knowledge of Hebrew as a part of Christian culture, which meant that Hebrew was no longer an esoteric subject, almost totally confined to Jews, and this eventually brought about a different kind of study of the language, carried on within a different context and intellectual atmosphere. The knowledge of Hebrew had not been entirely absent from the medieval Christian world; but such pockets as existed were entirely derived from Jewish philology and exegesis and contributed little or nothing to the progress of the subject in itself. There is no major name in Christian Hebrew studies between Jerome and Johann *Reuchlin. The sudden growth of Christian Hebrew studies in the early 16th century was part of the humanist impulse, which had revived the study of classical Latin and Greek, and which was animated with a zeal for the original ancient sources and their languages. The spread of printing had given new facilities for study, and the interest in the Bible, already stimulated by the new printed editions, was enormously increased by the Reformation controversies in the Church. There was an interest also in other Jewish sources, for example in the *Kabbalah, believed to be a source for philosophy and even for Christian doctrine, and also a stir of interest about the Talmud; Reuchlin was involved in bitter controversy because he opposed the burning of Jewish books as an obscurantist policy.

At first it was far from easy for non-Jews to find out much about Hebrew; the subject had been looked upon with some suspicion; informants were rare, and they might be suspected of seeking to proselytize. Some information came from Jews who embraced Christianity; conversely, some study among Christians was motivated by polemical aims. A freer atmosphere was found in northern Italy, and, soon after, in Germany. Even so, Conrad *Pellicanus, who anticipated Reuchlin with a small book about Hebrew (1503?), had to teach himself the language with only such limited aids as a brief section of the biblical text printed in Hebrew but in Latin characters. Early works such as his were little more than guides to the learning of the script. Nevertheless, the thirst for learning was very great, and substantial knowledge of Hebrew came to exist in the Christian world. Reuchlin's grammar, published with a dictionary in 1506, was very brief and simple; but by the end of his life his knowledge was considerable, and his immense reputation established Hebrew studies as a recognized subject in European education. He did much to ensure that chairs of Hebrew should be set up in the universities of northern Europe, and his pupils were available to occupy them. Within some decades a tradition had grown up and was accepted in some quarters, according to which Hebrew (and even Aramaic and Syriac) belonged along with Latin and Greek in the proper equipment of the cultivated man. In time, this more humanistic pursuit of Hebrew somewhat declined; Hebrew studies among Christians came to be carried on mainly as a part of theological study, and chairs were commonly occupied by men with theological training, interested primarily in biblical Hebrew; the humanistic cultivation of ancient languages concentrated on Latin and Greek.

The earliest Christian works on Hebrew were not only very rudimentary, but were also heavily dependent on Jewish tradition, and initially they were in no position to advance the subject beyond the state in which they had received it from the hands of their Jewish predecessors. Yet certain seeds of change were present from the beginning. Medieval Jewish grammars and lexicons had generally been in Arabic, or in Hebrew itself. Hebrew linguistic knowledge was now, however, set in a context which included the developed grammars of the classical languages, and works on Hebrew were written in Latin and, later, in various European languages such as German, French, and English. This involved an emphasis on methods of learning, since Christian students, unlike Jewish, generally had no antecedent native experience. More important, it raised questions of terminology: the Jewish tradition had evolved its own terms, or had relied upon the example of Arabic, a sister Semitic language; but could the terminology familiar to Europeans, and based mainly on Latin, also be applied to Hebrew? Certain of the terms which later became standard, such as "absolute state," go back to Reuchlin; what is now usually called the "construct state," on the other hand, was in earlier times called status regiminis, the "governing state." (See also *Hebraists, Christian.)

The person who did most, when the Christian study of Hebrew was established, to pass on to it a fuller heritage of knowledge from the older tradition of Jewish linguistics was Elijah Levita. Born in Germany, he lived most of his life in Italy, and mentally was well integrated with the humanist movement. He wrote several grammatical works, a commentary on the grammar of Moses *Kimḥi (1504), and his own Sefer ha-Baḥur and Sefer ha-Harkavah (1517). He was particularly noted for his studies in the masorah, the Masoret ha-Masorah (1538). The work of Levita was made available to a wider circle through the Latin translations of Sebastian *Muenster, professor at Basle from 1529, who was the most influential Christian Hebraist after Reuchlin. Through its clarity, Levita's work, as adapted, was well suited for teaching. The basis for Hebrew knowledge in the 16th century lay in the work of Moses and David *Kimḥi, and to some extent in that of Abraham ibn Ezra, as communicated through men like Levita and Muenster. Thus the main fund of knowledge, provided by medieval Jewish philology in its later and more clearly organized forms, was now directly accessible to Christian readers. The recent survey of Hebrew grammars printed in Europe during the 16th century (S. García-Jalón de la Lama y M. Veiga Díaz, Repertorio de gramáticas hebreas impresas en Europa en el siglo xvi (Salamanca 2000 = Helmantica 156)) enables us to understand and evaluate better the growth of Hebrew knowledge throughout Europe among Christian Hebraists (see also the bibliography included in this survey).

After Levita, however, no Jewish figure appeared for some time to become a recognized leader and authority on biblical studies, especially in the eyes of Christian scholars. Hebrew language studies were, in fact, making less distinguished progress within Judaism than had been the case in the Middle Ages. For this there were several reasons. The main intellectual effort within Judaism was now being directed toward talmudic studies. Catastrophes such as the expulsion from Spain had gravely dislocated Jewish academic life. The contact with Arabic grammar and the Arabic language, which had earlier been so suggestive and fruitful, was now very limited for the Jews of Europe. Finally, the work of discovery and clarification, with comparative reference to the cognate languages (Aramaic and Arabic), which had distinguished the medieval period, had probably gone as far as it could, and progress had already fallen off before 1500.

Correspondingly, the sense of heavy dependence on Jewish tradition which had marked the first Christian study of Hebrew began to pass. It is said of the dictionary of Johann *Forster of Wittenberg (1557) that it set aside the former reliance on rabbinic methods. Yet the dominance of Jewish traditional methods was still clear in the work of the two Johann *Buxtorfs, the elder and the younger. The masorah, a subject carefully studied by Levita, was a matter of extreme interest also to Buxtorf the elder, who wrote a masoretic commentary entitled Tiberias (1620). Buxtorf's own grammar far surpassed previous works in detail and exactitude. But the very existence of works that, even though written in heavy dependence on Jewish tradition, could be read and assimilated separately from it, made it possible for Western academic study of Hebrew in the universities to draw away from Jewish tradition.

Stirrings of Critical Attitudes

The Buxtorfs themselves illustrate how, by the early 17th century, Hebrew studies among Christians were marked less by the humanistic spirit and more by dogmatic theological considerations. Elijah Levita, following the Renaissance interest in detecting the late date of certain traditions, had averred that the vowel points were of late origin, and in 1624 the same argument was taken up by Ludwig Cappellus; but this was vigorously opposed by the Buxtorfs, to whom the argument seemed to threaten the Protestant orthodox view of biblical inspiration.

The question was, in fact, one of the first involving textual criticism, a movement which in the course of time substantially altered the direction of Hebrew language study. Medieval Jewish philology took the masoretic text as its basis, and the only ancient alternative text-form which was substantially used was the Aramaic Targum. Variants known in Hebrew, apart from special classes such as the ketiv and keri, were generally not of great importance for the meaning. Christian study, however, was familiar with older translations such as the Septuagint in Greek (originally a pre-Christian Jewish rendering) and the Latin Vulgate, which had been preserved in Christian tradition; to these was added the Syriac, a version in another Semitic dialect, preserved in Eastern Christianity and now once again made available for study in the West. The possibility was now suggested in principle that forms found in the Hebrew text might be the product of errors in written transmission, and that peculiar linguistic forms might therefore be explained through the decision to prefer a different text. Though there were certain precedents in earlier scholarship, both Jewish and Christian, and though hints of further progress appear, as in the 1620s with Cappellus, it was only in the later 18th century that textual criticism on something like its modern scale became established. The importance of textual criticism for linguistic study was that the grammar and lexicon did not have to accommodate every form transmitted by the textual tradition simply because it was in the text; some of the forms, which had been traditionally difficult for the linguistic scholar, might now be explained as the result of scribal errors. Though the full effect of this argument was not to be seen until much later, it gradually drove a wedge between the older linguistic study and the newer approach.

Throughout the entire period, grammars of Hebrew were published, some of which were very widely used. Most of them, however, were ephemeral, or local in their use, or merely one person's individual restatement of what was essentially the same grammatical doctrine; and the vast majority did nothing to advance the scientific study of Hebrew. Linguistic works written by Jews came in many cases, though not in all, to use the vernacular languages as the medium of instruction and exposition, rather than the Hebrew language itself. Works written in Holland often used Spanish and Portuguese for the needs of the Sephardi community; Italian was used in Italy. A grammar in Yiddish appeared in Prague in 1597. The first Hebrew grammar to be written by a Jew in Latin was that of Baruch *Spinoza, the greatest thinker ever to write a treatise on the Hebrew language. Latin had previously been used once or twice by Jews who had embraced Christianity, but Spinoza, who employed Latin in most of his works, was the first to use it for Hebrew grammar. His work, Compendium grammatices linguae hebraeae, is a brief, simple, and modest book, and it had no great effect on the progress of Hebrew linguistics. One sees at certain points the tendency to provide philosophical arguments to account for linguistic facts, a tendency which in Hebrew studies continued to have occasional effect up to the 20th century. Spinoza emphasized the noun as the pre-eminent word-class or part of speech in Hebrew; he seems to have considered the essential basis of verb forms to be the infinitive, i.e., a sort of noun form. He used unquestioningly such Latin terms as Nominative, Accusative, Mood, Case. Spinoza's effect on later developments was not, however, through the direct influence of his grammar, but through other aspects of his work. He took certain decisive steps toward a historical critical approach to the Bible, declaring it to be clear that the Pentateuch was written not by Moses but by someone who lived many centuries later. Among other significant Jewish grammatical writers of the 17th century mention may be made of Jedidiah Solomon b. Abraham *Norzi of Mantua, author of a detailed masoretic commentary completed in 1626 but published much later (1742–44) under the title Minḥat Shai; and, the most important of the writers of the century, Solomon b. Judah Loeb *Hanau.

During the 17th and 18th centuries the study of Hebrew linguistics, in spite of much accurate detailed knowledge, was somewhat hampered and confused by its entanglement with certain more general cultural problems. It was widely supposed that Hebrew was a language of divine origin, and even that it was the language of the Deity Himself; moreover, even as a human language, it was believed to have been the original tongue of humanity, from which others had been derived.

Meanwhile, however, a body of knowledge was being built up which was eventually to lead to a different understanding of the place of Hebrew in the world of language. Other Oriental languages were also being studied; chairs of Arabic existed at a number of universities, and the subject, first cultivated in connection with the missionary impulse directed toward Islam, and later fostered as an auxiliary to the study of Hebrew and the interpretation of the Bible, gradually became an independent academic field. The extensive Syriac literature, already mentioned, was also available. European exploration and curiosity about the Orient greatly extended the linguistic resources of scholarship; the grammar and lexicon of Ethiopic, a language close to Hebrew but formerly almost unknown, were learned. Samaritan texts were studied and printed. Remarkable typographical feats were performed in order to assemble all this material. Excellent polyglot Bibles were published; one of the most important, the London Polyglot of Bryan Walton (1657), contained (usually on the same page, for easy cross-reference) biblical texts in Hebrew along with the Samaritan Pentateuch and a number of Aramaic Targums, plus translations into Greek, Latin, Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Persian, with a Latin translation of each. To this Bible was added the Lexicon Heptaglotton of Edmund Castell (1669), which presented in a synoptic form the vocabularies of the Semitic languages involved, along with a separate listing for Persian. Thus material was being assembled for a comparative philological approach more comprehensive and wide-ranging than that which had been possible for the medieval Jewish philologists, whose knowledge had been largely confined to the languages then in use among Jews and in their environment, principally Arabic and Aramaic, as well as Hebrew.

One of the main centers of this wider linguistic knowledge was Holland, and it was here that its effects upon the traditional conceptions about Hebrew were first and most strongly expressed. Albrecht *Schultens emphasized with revolutionary exaggeration the extent of the change brought about by the new knowledge. Far from accepting the traditional view that Arabic (like other languages) was a degenerate form of Hebrew, Schultens maintained that Hebrew was only one Semitic dialect, while the purest and clearest such dialect was Arabic. Numerous difficult passages in the Hebrew Bible could, he believed, be elucidated by appeal to an Arabic word which seemed similar and from which the true sense of the Hebrew could be deduced. But in spite of the high value accorded to Arabic by Schultens, his use of it was infelicitous and far from commendable even from the point of view of an Arabist. He nevertheless marked the beginning of an epoch which continued into the mid-20th century, in which one of the main forms of learned linguistic study was the use of cognate languages for the elucidation of difficulties in Hebrew. At this stage, however, the increasing knowledge of cognate languages was not yet organized in a form which made a breakthrough possible, principally because the method, though comparative, was as yet imperfectly historical in character. The impact of Arabic on Hebrew studies continued, and the comprehensiveness of classical Arabic (compared with the limited corpus of biblical Hebrew), along with the apparent primitivity of its forms (which could often appear to provide patterns logically earlier than those of Hebrew), made it increasingly important in the organization of linguistic works about Hebrew. A grammar following roughly the lines marked out by Schultens was written by Nicholas Wilhelm Schroeder (d. 1798) and widely used. A more substantial and permanent influence in approximately the same direction was exercised by Johann David *Michaelis, professor of Oriental languages and theology at Goettingen. The academic Hebraist was now expected to be an Orientalist; this meant not only knowledge of Arabic, but also an awareness of the new information brought by travelers from the East about customs, the physical surroundings of life, and now – in its first rudimentary form – archaeology. By this time the Christian Hebraist was less involved in traditional dogmatism, and was likely, on the contrary, to be something of a rationalist.

One who also contributed much to the appreciation of Hebrew in this period, though one could hardly call him a Hebraist in the technical sense, was the wide-ranging thinker Johann Gottfried *Herder. His essay, "The Origin of Language" (1772), attacks the view that language is a direct gift of God, claiming that it is a human product, though not one deliberately framed by man, but rather springing by necessity from man's inner nature. He admired what had grown naturally, and had an interest in what he considered to be primitive languages, in which, as he believed, the verb had had priority over the noun, numerous synonyms had existed, and bold metaphors had been used. The example he generally had in mind when he talked of primitive languages was Hebrew, which, by the time-scale then customary, seemed to go back almost to the beginning of human culture. Herder had a deep sense of the poetic and aesthetic power of Hebrew, and he wrote an influential book, Vom Geist der hebraeischen Poesie ("On the Spirit of Hebrew Poetry," 1782–83). He emphasized the verb as the characteristic and leading feature of the language and associated this with the dynamic forcefulness and energy of the literature. Some of these opinions have continued to be echoed up to the present day. Herder also made further moves toward a historical approach to the Bible, and emphasized its humanity. If Hebrew was brought down from the level of the divine, at the same time it was nevertheless accorded a place of high honor.

The Classical Historical Method

The great name in German Hebrew studies in the early 19th century is that of Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm *Gesenius, professor at Halle, some of whose books, after numerous amendments and revisions, are still standard reference works. Particularly noteworthy are his lexicon, Hebraeisches undchaldaeisches Handwoerterbuch (17th German edition, 1915; new revision in preparation), which was used as the basis for the English dictionary of Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles *Driver and Charles A. Briggs (1907); and his two grammars, the more detailed Lehrgebaeude der hebraeischen Sprache (1817), and the briefer Hebraeische Grammatik (1813). Indeed, the latter, after successive new editions by Emil *Kautzsch and others, remains the standard reference grammar in many languages today (2nd English edition by Arthur Ernest Cowley, Oxford, 1910). He also wrote a history of the Hebrew language and worked on Samaritan and the Semitic languages in general. Modern readers, who may be impressed chiefly by the detail and the comprehensiveness of Genesius' approach, should know that in his own time his lectures were considered fascinating and drew students from far and wide. The strength of his work lies in its genius for detailed comprehensive empirical observation; his approach was sober and avoided speculation. Yet the empirical accuracy of Genesius' work does not conceal the fact that his conceptual terminology was often unsuited to the subject. He continually used the categories Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, which have formal representation in Latin and German, but not in Hebrew. He had nine declensions of the masculine noun. All forms of the noun are explained as if they were derived from the extant form of the masculine singular absolute. He wrote before the full unfolding of the comparative-historical linguistics of the 19th century, and his careful attention to Arabic or Syriac still does not produce a developmental framework; though historical in one sense, he had not yet made the systematic projections back into prehistory which were essential to the full comparative method. Thus he did not even diagnose that the ending -am as in yomam ("by day") is genetically connected with the Arabic case ending -an. He considered the consecutive waw to have been formed from the prefixing of the verb hayah ("to be"). Though later revisions of his work incorporated a more historical outlook, some of these defects persisted into modern revisions. For terminology, he still sometimes used the traditional Hebrew terms, but mostly employed Latin terms, though often aware that these might be misleading. He agreed with the older Jewish grammar in calling the two tenses, which later came to be called perfect and imperfect, by the names Past and Future, the idea of aspect not yet having been brought into consideration. The historical aspect of Genesius' work was better revealed within the biblical corpus itself; he was aware of the historical development of the language and distinguished the usage of different writers, as for example pre-exilic and post-exilic, prose and poetic. In the study of meanings in his lexicographical work he was both lucid in presentation and sober in his quest for valid analogies and his avoidance of speculative fancies.

The later editions of Genesius' works, and newer works produced in the following decades, had to take account of the great advances made in comparative philology. Hebrew had been elucidated through knowledge of the cognate Semitic languages as far back as the Middle Ages, long before the method was much applied outside the Semitic family. Yet it was work in the Indo-European langugages which in the early 19th century finally evolved a satisfactory comparative and historical method. This method included the projection or reconstruction of a common ancestor language, from which the extant languages were descended by statable changes. By application of the method to the Semitic family, proto-Semitic forms could be reconstructed; these, though not found in any historical document, could yet be deemed to have been the ancestral forms from which, by regular or fairly regular changes, the extant Hebrew (and, similarly, Arabic or Aramaic) forms had been evolved. Moreoever, reconstructions could also be done internally, by considering groups of phenomena within one language; for instance, the series malki, malko ("my king, his king") might suggest that the word "king" was malk at aprehistoric date, before it became melekh as in extant Hebrew texts. The method enabled a historical explanation to be given to phenomena which might otherwise be empirically registered but not accounted for; and it has remained of great importance, not least because there is no other way of penetrating the time before the earliest biblical texts. The effect of this method was that scholarly grammars eventually came to classify Hebrew forms not under the patterns which they assume in the masoretic text but under those patterns which they are taken to have had in the prehistoric stage; beginning with this prehistoric stage, the grammar undertakes to explain how the extant forms were derived. This is a thorough change in grammatical method, even if the empirical facts observed are the same. Beginning to appear in the late 19th century in grammars such as those of Justus *Olshausen (1861) and Bernhard Stade (1879), it reached monumental proportions only in the 20th century in the grammar of Hans *Bauer and Pontus Leander (1922) and the revisions of Gesenius by Gotthelf *Bergstraesser (1918).

This method also raised new questions, or old questions in new and more rigorous forms. The importance within it of the sound changes by which the reconstructed ancestor language alters into the extant dialect brought the question whether these changes followed an invariable rule or whether they might allow occasional exceptions. The matter was of great importance in lexicography, for a dictionary was expected to state some kind of etymology and give data of cognate forms in other Semitic languages, and the validity of these depended on the degree to which the normal sound correspondences must be insisted on and the degree to which similarities of meaning which seemed overwhelming might be expected to override them.

The new interest in linguistic discovery could also suggest new approaches to Hebrew. Knowledge of the Slavonic languages emphasized the category of aspect in verbs (nature of the action done, e.g., whether completed or not completed), and something similar was seen in Greek. The tenses of Hebrew had traditionally been regarded as past and future, both through the influence of Latin grammar and through the older Jewish view of the matter, but it was thought that something closer to the category of aspect might be more suitable, since the classification as past and future had long given much trouble. A number of important works in the 20th century were devoted to the attempt to define the verb system of Hebrew and to explain its evolution in relation to what is known of sister languages.

Modern Trends

The hundred years following Gesenius, then, were a period of more radical historical questioning about the development of the Hebrew language. The basic task was now seen no longer as that of classifying and registering the forms, but rather as that of piecing together a historical development, of which only certain portions were evident on the surface. This trend was further emphasized by certain other circumstances.

The first of these was the rise of historical criticism and its application to the sources of the biblical books. This made it possible to discern different linguistic strata in what had generally been taken in the past as unitary documents. Within the Pentateuch, for instance, the separation of chronologically different strata was accompanied by the identification of linguistic constants as characteristics of each. This process assisted in the identification and appreciation of various styles in the use of language and made possible a more fully historical understanding of Hebrew. The historical-critical separation of sources has never gone without opposition, and many applications of it have been questioned by competent linguists; nevertheless, the main principles of it seem to be sound and helpful, and the method has had great effect on the history of Hebrew linguistics. Modern grammars and dictionaries will often register phenomena as belonging to, or characteristic of, one or another of the recognized sources, such as the document j or p.

Second, the same period was one in which whole new languages were discovered, and these enriched knowledge of the linguistic environment of ancient Hebrew, while at the same time confirming the applicability of the comparative philological method and inviting its extension. Ancient Egyptian was deciphered early in the 19th century and, though not closely related to Hebrew, provided numerous points of contact, including among other things the means of correct identification of names and expressions of Egyptian origin in the Hebrew Bible, some of which had hitherto been explained as Hebrew and thereby confused our understanding of the latter. More immediate and important, *Akkadian, the language of the Assyrians and Babylonians, was discovered in the second half of the century and it turned out to have remarkably close relationships with Hebrew; its verb tense system, for instance, served to suggest new approaches to the verb system of Hebrew. The discovery of Akkadian, not least because of the ancient provenance of this language, did much to shift the balance of Semitic comparative philology away from excessive reliance on sources such as Arabic and Syriac, which were then known mainly from materials of later date. Extensive fresh discoveries of inscriptions in Canaanite, Phoenician, Moabite, Aramaic, Punic, South Arabian, and other dialects were made, and it became possible to a much greater extent than previously to see Hebrew as one of a group of dialects; and, since the inscriptions had been unchanged since the time of their origin, they formed a valuable resource for comparison with texts such as those of biblical Hebrew, which had been handed down by a copying process over many centuries. Archaeological researches produced archaic inscriptions even in Hebrew itself. It now became normal to consider that the task of the Hebraist was no longer to study Hebrew in and of itself, but to reconstruct the historical path by which it had developed in the midst of this group of related dialects, of which increasingly complex evidence kept coming to the fore. This movement was still further accelerated in the 1930s, when *Ugaritic, a language previously entirely unknown, was brought to light; it dated from the 14th century b.c.e. and had much in common with Hebrew.

Third, not only were other languages discovered, but great discoveries were made in the field of Hebrew itself. Particularly important was the study of biblical manuscripts with pointing different from the customary Tiberian system. These enabled a reconstruction to be made of Hebrew as it had been before the Tiberian pointing became authoritative. A number of scholars (particularly Paul *Kahle and Alexander Sperber) held that the masoretes had made certain innovations in the grammar of Hebrew and that it was now possible to penetrate accurately, with proof, back to a pre-masoretic state. For this purpose assistance was drawn from Hebrew words transcribed into Greek or Latin in early sources. Recourse was also had to the Samaritan tradition of Hebrew, both spoken and written, which had been investigated notably by Ze'ev *Ben-Hayyim, to provide another non-masoretic source. Further new texts were furnished by the Cairo *Genizah since the end of the 19th century, including the recovered section of the Hebrew text of *Ben Sira, previously known almost solely in Greek. The culmination of this current of discovery was the appearance after World War ii of the *Dead Sea Scrolls; these included Hebrew biblical texts many centuries older than those formerly known, as well as many new writings, previously quite unknown, which have greatly stimulated research into the state and history of Hebrew in the one or two centuries immediately before and after the beginning of the Common Era.

During the 19th century, along with changes in the social and educational position of the Jews, the currents of Jewish grammatical studies and of academic Hebrew studies, which had flowed somewhat apart, began to converge once again. The person who signalized this movement was Samuel David *Luzzatto. Though distinguished Jewish thinkers such as *Elijah Gaon of Vilna and Moses *Mendelssohn had written about the Hebrew language, their work had no great effect upon academic study. Luzzatto's work, on the other hand, stands in the full critical, historical, and reasoned light of the best academic method of his time.

In the 20th century the convergence of Jewish and non-Jewish Hebrew studies was facilitated by the fact that non-Jewish studies became once again more humanistic and less definitely attached to theology.

Jewish scholarship was particularly important in the field of post-biblical Hebrew, which had tended to be somewhat neglected by Christian scholarship, especially in the more modern period (the earlier epoch of Christian Hebrew studies had seen some profound rabbinic scholarship, as with John Lightfoot in England, 1602–75). The historical emphasis of the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement promoted exact and discriminating scholarship. A subject of much interest was the linguistic situation in Palestine at the time of the origin of Christianity and the interrelation of Hebrew and Aramaic; names of note in this discussion are Gustav *Dalman and Moses Hirsch *Segal; the latter provided the standard grammar of mishnaic Hebrew (1927). The main effort of Hebrew linguistics had always been directed toward the language of the Bible; but a historical perspective made it desirable to attempt the description also of other stages of Hebrew, and this task was given actuality by the revival of Hebrew as a spoken and written language from the time of the *Haskalah onward. The task of refashioning the language for modern needs involved considerable research into the resources of the past in order that these might be mobilized for the present; one outstanding monument of this effort is the Thesaurus totius hebraitatis (1908–59) initiated by Eliezer *Ben-Yehuda.

In the mid-20th century the main current of biblical linguistics continued to be concerned with the assimilation of the material known from comparative philological methods. Notable scholars working in this field were Naphtali Herz Tur-Sinai in Israel, Sir Godfrey Rolles Driver in Oxford and William Foxwell *Albright in America. The emphasis on Ugaritic as a major source for the elucidation of Hebrew has been pushed to its extreme by Mitchell Dahood, but a more moderate position was taken by many other scholars, such as Umberto *Cassuto. New dictionaries, such as the third edition of Ludwig Koehler and Walter *Baumgartner's Hebraeisches und Aramaeisches Lexikon (1967), endeavor to incorporate the results of this approach. No full synthesis of comparative Semitics has appeared to supersede that of Carl Brockelmann (1908–13), nor has a full comparative etymological dictionary of the Semitic languages been published; nor, for comprehensive and purely empirical presentation, has the revised work of Gesenius been outdated.

Another form of study which achieved some importance in the 20th century has been the attempt (anticipated to some extent by Herder) to trace connections between the linguistic phenomena of Hebrew, e.g., the tense system, or the construct state, or the relation between root and meaning, and characteristic aspects of the thought of the ancient Israelites. The validity of this method, and the extent to which it can be pressed, have been a subject of some controversy.

From about the 1940s onward the seemingly assured dominance of comparative-historical study has begun to be challenged by the newer methods of descriptive linguistics, interested not only in the historical development of items but in the description of systems, and based on the study of living and spoken languages. Some of the workers who developed these newer linguistics were also in part Hebraists, such as Edward *Sapir, Zellig Sabbetai *Harris and Noam *Chomsky. The approach of descriptive linguistics found a ready application in the study of spoken Israeli Hebrew, as in Ḥayyim Rosen's Ha-Ivrit Shellanu and A Textbook of Israeli Hebrew. The interest in phonetics, which is part of the new descriptive approach, has had importance also for the historical linguistics of Hebrew, for it has been applied with profit to the detailed study of the speech habits of special Jewish communities such as the Yemenites, and this study influences in turn the understanding of the history of pronunciation and the systems of vocalization in ancient times, as has been shown by Shelomo Morag. It may be expected that the methods of descriptive linguistics will in the course of time exercise a wider influence on the study of Hebrew.

[James Barr]


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Kokowtzow, in: Bulletin de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences de St. Petersbourg (1911), 1219–36; idem, Noviye materiali dlya kharakteristiki Yehudi Khayudja, Samuila Nagida i nekotorikh drugikh predstaviteley eyreiskoy filologicheskoy nauki v–x, xi i xii vieki, Heb. pt. and Russ. pt. (1916); Azar (= A.S. Rabinovitz), Niẓẓanei ha-Dikduk ha-Ivri (1927). For additional bibliography, see "Authors and Their Works" above and the Bibliography in *Hebrew Language.

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