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Full text of "[untitled] The Jewish Quarterly Review, (1895-10-01), pages 175-177"

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be too much annoyed by critics, who take pleasure in finding faults, 
and pointing them out in rather passionate language. Are these 
severe critics always accurate in their own publications? we doubt 
it! Let us take as our motto "laboremus," despite these few mal- 
contents. A. N. 

Assab'lniyya, a philosophical poem in Arabic by Musa b. Tubi, together 
with the Hebrew version and commentary styled Batte Hanuefel by 
Solomon b. Immanuel Dapiera, edited and translated by Haktwig 
Hirschfeld. Abstract from the Report of the Montefiore 
College. (Luzac & Co.) 

We take great pleasure in congratulating the Montefiore College 
on the regular continuance of the yearly Program, issued by the 
Principal and Dr. Hirschfeld. After monographs on the historic 
Halakhah by the former, the latter has chosen for his subject a 
didactical poem in Arabic with a Hebrew translation and com- 
mentary. We must not forget to mention that both authors of the 
Programs have used MSS. belonging to the Library of the College, 
and more especially of those 400 acquired within the last four years. 
The Arabic poem, composed in the Maghribine dialect, viz. the dialect 
spoken chiefly in Morocco, is, according to the superscription in the 
unique Bodleian MS., by Abu Amran Musa b. Tubi al-Israeli of 
Sevilla, i. e. by Moses b. Tobiyah of Sevilla. The Hebrew translator 
and commentator gives as author Moses b. Tobi, a Maghrebi Jew. If 
he is correct, and we have no reason to doubt his statement, Moses or 
his family emigrated from Sevilla to Maghreb : whether voluntarily or 
forced by persecution, he does not say. Moses, anyhow, composed in 
the Maghrebi- Arabic dialect, and Dr. Hirschfeld was right in publishing 
his poem in this dialect, instead of converting it into classical Arabic. 
He says judiciously, in his prefatory remarks, that " Instead of re- 
storing the classical readings and correcting mistakes in the text 
itself, I thought it more expedient to leave the latter unchanged, and 
to place my suggestions in the notes." He was also right in printing 
the Arabic text in Hebrew square characters, saying that "a tran- 
scription in Neskhi would wrongly impair its peculiarity." There was 
no occasion for the apology for the reproduction of the Hebrew, with 
which Dr. Hirschfeld begins his Prefatory remarks, "Although the 
following Arabic text is taken from a unique MS., the evident con- 
sistency of its orthography and grammatical forms lends sufficient 


philological interest to justify its publication. It was therefore a 
conditio sine qua non that the Hebrew version, which is only a few 
decades younger, should accompany its reproduction, although it is 
not distinguished by great literary importance nor handed down by 
reliable scribes." The Hebrew translation and commentary is by 
Solomon b. Immanuel NDSX? NT'S! 'DIpDD ; the last word, being an 
abridged formula of the last six words of Deut. xxx. 11, ought to be 
provided with points. NT'S! is given by Dr. Hirschfeld as " of Piera" 
without saying where this locality is to be found. There is a dis- 
cussion on the various readings of this word in MSS. in Histoire 
litUraire de la France, t. 27, p. 728 sqq., without coming to any 
satisfactory result. The word Nt3B? is explained by Dr. Hirschfeld 
as the Arabic (in Maghreb) NBQX7N, which means a hollow-backed, 
broad-chested man. However, if N"VQ is a Romanic word, NDS?, 
according to our opinion, must also be one, perhaps lapida. 

The Hebrew text is according to the MSS. in the Montefiore 
College and in the Royal Library of Munich. The Arabic title 
mentioned above means 70, the poem consisting of 70 strophes and 
a postscript, containing, " moral and religious exhortations, in which 
are interspersed the chief philosophical ideas ripe at the time of the 
author. It begins with the Aristotelian axiom, adopted by Arabic 
and Jewish philosophers, that perfect happiness can only be gained 
by means of perfect metaphysical training." The author closely 
follows Maimonides' Guide, which is often pointed out by the trans- 
lator's commentary. As to the date of the author of the poem 
Dr. Hirschfeld speaks as follows : " We have no direct infoi-mation as to 
the age in which the author lived. Steinschneider places it in the 
first half of the fourteenth century, probably basing his inference 
on the period of the translator. Considering the probability that 
the latter was never in personal connexion with the author, it may 
perhaps be fixed somewhat earlier." We quite agree with Dr. 
Hirschfeld as to the earlier date, for the reason that the author does 
not seem to know the similar poem in Hebrew, by the Provencal Levi 
ben Abraham, composed in 1276 with the title of D^ETvDI E>S3n TO 
(see Histoire litUraire de la France, t. 27, p. 633 sqq.). Perhaps we 
might even put the Hebrew translation of Moses' in the thirteenth 
century by reason of the similarity of the Hebrew title, which is 

also e>wn vu. 

It would be superfluous to mention that Dr. Hirschfeld gives in the 
notes his emended readings of the Arabic text from a unique MS. as 
well as the various reading in the Hebrew text according to the two 
MSS. Having recently studied many Jewish-Maghrebi texts, which 


were published in the Jewish Quarterly and elsewhere, he was 
able to give a list of grammatical, lexicographical, and metrical pecu- 
liarities occurring in this dialect. At the end the reader will find the 
translation of the Arabic text of the poem, with many useful notes 
concerning the text, as well as parallel passages of philosophers to 
which Moses alludes. Thus Dr. Hirschfeld's monograph will prove 
useful for Jewish bibliography, for Jewish-Arabic philosophy, as well 
as Arabic grammar and lexicography in the Maghrebine dialect, more 
especially that of the Jewish writers. 


Moses b. Samuel hakkohen ibn Chiqititta nebst den Fragmenten seiner 
Schriften. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Bibelexegese und der 
hebr&ischen Sprachwissenschaft im Mittelalter von Dr. Samuel 
Poznanski. (Leipzig, J. C. Hinrichs, 1895.) 

This monograph of 200 pages has for its object the life and works 
of the well-known Moses Jiqatilla, exegete, grammarian, and poet. 
If we say that of our author's works, there exists only a Hebrew 
translation of Judah Hayuj's grammar composed in Arabic, the reader 
will be astonished at the material Dr. Poznanski must have collected 
in various authors in order to accomplish his task. And we may say at 
once he has well mastered the documents concerning Moses Jiqatilla, 
which are scattered in the works of successors who quote him. They 
are chiefly Judah ben Balam, Abraham ben Ezra, the Qamhis, the 
Qaraite Aaron ben Joseph, Tanhum ben Joseph, David hay-yavani 
(the Greek), and many others who quote him not very frequently. 
Our Moses, who lived in Spain towards the end of the eleventh or 
beginning of the twelfth century, may be considered the first translator 
of Jewish- Arabic works, viz. the grammar of Hayuj, except his treatise 
on Punctuation. It seems that our Moses, like the Thabbons at a later 
time, was called to France (Provence), to do his work for Isaac ben 
Solomon. This translation was published by the Rev. J. W. Nutt, of 
All Souls College, Oxford, in 1870. There exists another translation by 
Abraham ibn Ezra, which had less success than that of Jiqatilla. To 
judge from quotations which are collected with skill and discernment 
by Dr. Poznanski, we can say for certain that our Moses wrote com- 
mentaries on the Pentateuch, the Prophets, the Psalms, Job, and 
Canticles, possibly on other books also, although no direct quotations 
are at present found. Our author seems inclined to critical exegesis 
like Abraham ibn Ezra, who quotes him often. This subject we hope