Parḥon, Salomon ben Abraham Ibn

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PARḤON, SALOMON BEN ABRAHAM IBN (12th century), lexicographer. Born in Qal'a, Spain, he was a student of Judah *Halevi and Abraham *Ibn Ezra. Parḥon immigrated to Italy, where in 1160 at Salerno he completed his Maḥberet he-Arukh, a biblical lexicon written in Hebrew and his only extant work. On the one hand, the title is reminiscent of Menaḥem b. Jacob ibn *Saruq's dictionary and, on the other, of Nathan b. *Jehiel's. He-Arukh comprises the whole of medieval Hebrew lexicography after *Ibn Janaḥ and is, as Parḥon states in his introduction, an epitome of Ibn Janaḥ's Book of Roots (Sefer ha-Shorashim, 1896). Parḥon also acknowledges the use of excerpts from Ibn Janaḥ's other books and from Judah b. David *Ḥayyuj, the Hebrew translator of Ibn Janaḥ's Book of Roots. Ten years after Parḥon's dictionary appeared Judah ibn *Tibbon claimed it was merely a plagiarism of Ibn Janaḥ's lexicon. However, this claim is unjust because in addition to the necessity of taking into consideration the rather liberal medieval attitude toward utilizing the works of others, Maḥberet he-Arukh contains original material in its own right. For example, material pertaining to the development of religious ritual, which is of considerable historical interest, and original explanations of biblical passages are found in the work. The introduction to the dictionary comprises a compendium of biblical Hebrew grammar and terminates with a short excursus on medieval Hebrew prosody. Its appendix (appearing immediately after the introduction in S.G. Stern's 1844 edition) is entitled "About biblical matters, as to which one has to dispel one's doubts," and deals with problems of style and syntax following Ibn Janaḥ's Kitab al-luma' (Sefer ha-Rikmah, 1964). The major importance of Maḥberet he-Arukh, however, was that, being written in Hebrew, it transferred to Christian countries the advances in Hebrew philology made under the influence of Arabic linguists in Spain. In his introduction Parḥon asserts this to be one of his aims since he found that in Italy only the Maḥberet of Menaḥem ibn Saruq was known. Accordingly, he followed the example of his teacher, Abraham Ibn Ezra, the most important popularizer of Spanish scholarship in Christian lands. The Maḥberet he-Arukh became an extremely popular work, not least because of the fluency, lucidity, and purity of Parḥon's Hebrew style, a style befitting a pupil of Abraham Ibn Ezra.


S.G. Stern (ed.), Salomon ben Abraham ibn Parḥon, Maḥberet he-Arukh (1844); W. Bacher, in: J. Winter and A. Wuensche, Juedische Literatur, 2 (1897), 190; idem, in: zaw, 11 (1891), 35–99.

[Yehuda Elitzur]