Schoenhack, Joseph

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SCHOENHACK, JOSEPH (1812–1870), Hebrew writer and lexicographer. Born in Tiktin, Poland, he wrote one of the first works on natural science in Hebrew – Toledot ha-Areẓ, in three volumes (Toledot ha-Ḥayyim (1841, with commendatory prefaces by rabbis and maskilim), Toledot ha-Ẓemaḥim, and Toledot ha-Muẓakim (both 1859), treating, respectively, zoology, botany, and mineralogy. The books were schematically presented – the names of the animals, plants, and minerals appeared in Hebrew with a German translation (in Hebrew letters); the text was augmented by many footnotes that examined the names of species mentioned in the Bible and in talmudic literature. He used a German name only when no Hebrew name was available. With the help of Schoenhack, Mendele Mokher Seforim determined the names of animals in his book Toledot ha-Teva.

Schoenhack also compiled a dictionary, Ha-Mashbir he-Ḥadash, for the language of the Targum, the Talmud, and the Midrash (1859) based on the Arukh by *Nathan of Rome, but he noted the origin of each word and translated it into German (in Hebrew letters). In 1869 he added to Ha-Mashbir a book called Sefer ha-Millu'im, in which he added words not printed in the Arukh.


Klausner, Sifrut, 4 (1954), 133; Ha-Maggid, 49 (1870), 388.

[Yehuda Slutsky]

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Schoenhack, Joseph

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