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to all those who engage in its study ; the Sources will indeed long 
occupy a place in literature as an authority on the subject. 

M. Kayserling. 


Die Anf&nge der hehrMschen Grammatik, von Dr. W. Bacheb, Professor 
an der Landes-Rabbinerschule zu Budapest. Separat-Abdruck 
aus dem 49 Bande der Zeitschrift der Deulschen Morgenl&ndischen 
Gesellschqft. (Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1895, 120 pp.) 

Prop. W. Bacher, whose energies seem unlimited, describes in this 
essay the origin and development of Hebrew grammatical science 
during the centuries preceding Hajjug. The scientific study of that 
language was inaugurated with the advent of this writer, so that 
Abraham Ibn Ezra in the Sefath Jether, No. 74, rightly remarks: 
"Hebrew grammar did not exist till Jehuda ben David arose, chief 
of the grammarians." Before Hajjug, however, we may already 
discover germs and traces of Hebrew grammar, which ought not 
to be passed over by the historians. These Dr. Bacher has grouped in 
nine chapters, and collated systematically. 

The first chapter (pp. 3-7) notices grammatical elements in tradi- 
tional literature. The author correctly points out that current 
conceptions of the existence of grammatical elements in Talmud and 
Midrash are exaggerated ; it is not proper to speak of a grammar of 
the Hebrew language in the period that produced the Talmud. Only 
an exiguous number of merest traces of linguistic categories of a very 
general character exist, and these afterwards became constituent 
elements of grammatical terminology. The contributions of tradi- 
tional literature to later Hebrew grammar, Dr. Bacher exhaustively 
collects and enumerates. 

The second chapter (pp. 7-12) indicates the extent to which the 
Massorah, by its isolated rules and technical terms, prepared the 
way for Hebrew grammar. The author justly styles the Massorah 
the cradle of Hebrew grammar ; because, for the sake of preserving 
the true text, the Massorites carefully distinguished the various 
forms and grouped together those that were similar. On the other 
hand, these Massorite lists lack grammatical character. The Mas- 
sorites, only concerned with the correct reading of the text, for 
instance, jumbled together Hebrew with Biblical Aramaic. Their 
interest centred not in Hebrew as a language, but in the text of the 
•Hebrew scriptures. 


Chapter III (pp. 13-20) treats of the vowel points. The author 
favours Graetz's hypothesis that the first vowel characters were 
written over as well as under the words. Of the two systems of 
punctuation — the Tiberian and the Babylonian — the author proves 
that the latter was the original and simpler, and accordingly the 
more ancient. 

In Chapter IV (pp. 20-23), t fle elements of Hebrew grammar, 
gathered from the Sepher Jezirah, are discussed. This original work 
was the first to give the classification of Hebrew consonants which 
was afterwards adopted by the grammarians. We also learn from it 
that the Resh was pronounced in two ways. 

Aaron b. Moses b. Asher, discussed in Chapter V (pp. 23-28), re- 
presents the transition from the Massorites to the grammarians. 
His Massorite rules (collected in D'Dytan * l pl*7p*7) are permeated with 
grammatical conceptions. Ben Asher is the first who discusses the 
seven vowels which he names " kings " (DwD n]DB>). Both nomen- 
clature and number were accepted by all grammarians till Joseph 
Qimhi. Ben Asher's chapter on the parts of speech (D^DytJil , p11pT§7i) 
shows that he really had some idea of exact grammar. This chapter is 
headed tOpOTI J"»1S J?CW b TJD, in which }W» does not perhaps 
signify elements of audible speech (see Bacher, p. 32), but, as among 
the Karaites, is identical with 31D3 (see Eshkol Hakkofer, No. 168, 
letter 2). The expression nWIVID, a Hebraic form of the Arabic TTVD, 
is remarkable as denoting the Infinitive. Ibn Parchon, as well as 
his contemporary, the Karaite Jehuda Hadassi, calls the Infinitive 
simply "HVD (Eshkol, No. 33, letter 5? ; No. 163, letter \ ; compare 
Monatsschrift, XL, 120). I here take the opportunity of remarking 
that the composer (or translator, see Steinschneider, Die hebr. 
Uebersetz., p. 939) of a small grammatical essay p32n "©D (MS. Bodl., 
Catal. Neubauer, No. 1467) uses "nxa as a term for the Infinitive. 
The reason is given as follows : DJlhll TTljfo *Un^ "0^ "IS W> ^>DW 
(f. 58 c). 

Ben Asher is greatly surpassed by his contemporary, the Gaon 
Saadiah, of whom the sixth chapter treats (pp. 38-62). Saadiah was 
the first to write a book exclusively devoted to Hebrew grammar. 
This was composed in Arabic, under the influence of the Arabic 
language, and consists of twelve chapters. According to Dr. Harkavy 
(Studien u. Mittheilungen, V, 34) it was intended as an appendix to the 
second recension of Saadiah's Agron (or Egron). Dr. Bacher, however, 
with some plausibility, argues that it formed an independent work 1 , 

1 The grounds for Dr. Baoher's views were communicated to the Revue des 


with the title iw^X 3D3, and endeavours, principally from Saadiah's 
citations, in his Commentary on the Sepher Jezirah, and from the 
quotations in Dunash ben Labrat's critique, to reconstruct the 
contents of the twelve chapters. The subjects of this work were, 
Dr. Bacher thinks:— (1) The Letters ; (2) The Gutturals ; (3) Peculiari- 
ties of other letters; (4) Changes of Letters ; (5) Changes of Vowels ; 
(6) Dagesh and Raphe ; (7) Assimilation of Consonants of the same 
class ; (8) Radical and Servile Letters ; (9) Conjugation of Verbs ; 
(10) Declension of Nouns 1 ; (11) Anomalies; (12) Syntax. 

Jehuda Ibn Qoreish, discussed in Chapter VII (pp. 63-70), 
probably made use of Saadiah's writings ; but nevertheless represents 
an earlier and less advanced stage in grammatical science. The 
importance of his work mainly consists in the fact that he was the 
first to institute a comparison between the Semitic tongues. Apart 
from this, he only plays a secondary part in the history of the 
beginnings of Hebrew grammar. He has, withal, a number of 
grammatical peculiarities which deserve notice. 

The last two chapters, the eighth (pp. 70-95) and the ninth (pp. 95- 
114), treat of the efforts of the first representatives of Hebrew 
linguistic science in Spain, Menahem b. Saruq and Dunash b. 
Labrat. Menahem composed a complete dictionary of the Hebrew 
language, which he probably edited in two recensions. The first, 
according to Dr. Kaufmann (Zeitschrifi der Deutschen Morgenl&ndischen 
Gesellschaft, XL, 370), forms the basis of a Berne MS. The Bodleian 
Library possesses a recently-acquired fragment of Menahem's 
Lexicon, which gives a portion of the Introduction and of the Letter 
Alef, and is more condensed than the printed edition, from which 
it differs in the arrangements of the radicals. I was unfortunately 
only able to examine it cursorily, and could therefore not determine 
whether it corresponds with the Berne MS. 

As Menahem wrote his Lexicon in Hebrew, he had to construct 
a terminology and invent technical terms. Thus, for example, he 
was probably the first to introduce the word mta (p. 94). It would 
be highly desirable, if Dr. Bacher were to compile a list of Menahem's 

Etudes Juives, XXIV, 310, 313. Dr. Harkavy, however, still maintains his 
own theory, and promises to adduce proofs. (See his cw oa D'flnn, No. 5, 
innp'n, p. 44-) 

1 The citation from Dunash's Criticism, No. 89 (p. 56), should undoubtedly 
be corrected thus, oinnn -pi 'eA 'rtro rbrj r|« 'rtnn tod rtnn -nasi . Saadiah 
always treats these forms as nouns with the first person singular pro- 
nominal suffix. Cp. my essay, Mose b. Samuel Hakkohen Ibn ChiquitiUa, &c, 
p. 13°. 


terms, marking those of which he is the originator. (Most of them 
are to be found scattered in Dr. Bacher's essay, Die grammatische Ter- 
minologie des Jehuda b. David Hajjug, Vienna, 1882.) But, although 
Menahem avoided Arabic terminology (p. 71), he was, nevertheless, 
consciously or unconsciously, influenced by it. Apart from the ex- 
amples given by Dr. Bacher (pp. 71-72), the division of the nouns into 
TWQV and Cl^J?B» (p. 85) is an imitation of the Arabic ICtti dDK 
and pTVPO DDN (see my Beitrdge z. Gesch. d. hebr. Sprachwissensch., 
i. 14-15, and Dr. Bacher, Monatsschrift, XL, 119). Thus, too, Menahem's 
expression (p. 48) HWriKI fTOWll rbtsn >3mr\ is a literal transla- 
tion of the Arabic NmiXINI KHDND1K1 9\rvb« ^NIK (see Grammatische 
Terminologie des Hajjug, p. 22, no. 2). The opening paragraphs of 
the Introduction are modelled on an Arabic pattern. How remote 
Menahem still is from a scientific conception of the Hebrew language 
is proved by the circumstance that, like the Massorah, he does not 
accurately distinguish the Hebrew from the Aramaic element in 
the Bible (p. 72, no. 3). Both in Menahem and the Massorah, the 
subject of interest is not Hebrew, but the language of the Bible. 
Even the Karaite author of the Mushtamil (see below), who lived at 
the beginning of the eleventh century, gives, in the seventh part 
of his work, examples from the Aramaic in illustration of the 
variation in meaning produced by transposition of consonants 1 . Of 
Saadiah's writings, Menahem, according to Dr. Bacher, only knew the 
Agron. This can have reference only to the Gaon's Grammatical 
Writings; for Saadiah's exegetical writings were probably known 
and used by Menahem. Thus, Menahem's refutation of the derivation 
of JTHf (Ps. cxxxix. 3) from TTA (p. 86, note), is probably derived from 
Saadiah (see Pinsker, Likkute Kadmonioth, p. 1 74). So also, Menahem, 
in disproving (fol. 83 b) the identification of T\Y\TD (Job xxxviii. 32) 
with ni?ID (p. 82, note 5), does not aim at Ibn Qoreish, but rather 
attacks Saadiah, who translated nVW with D133PX. Cp. my Essay on 
Ibn Chiquitilla, p. 183, and the passage there cited from Dunash's 
Critique on Saadiah, no. 84, nii>TD 1C3 m"l!D (rTHJID 3T i>"l) iriDI 2 . 

1 I content myself with one example from the Article nar (Brit. Mus. 
MS. Or. 2592, f. 39 b) : jo "rts **in 'to hio 1 ) '0 rpTObN win notroH nit* *i±& 
mnw '3N3>n xrh po ira rvvurtM Nina " • • nvan »i«i • • • • wo nrh po DHibAM 

d^m ijwm'pa r«bro«')N jo snDONii (Ps. cxix. 122) aitf) -pay my 'pD jnox!»» 

•jte (Dan. ii. 43) jirtf piyno .... (ib. cvi. 35). 

2 I would like to add to Br. Bacher's chapter on Menahem, that the 
expression arms jiibS (p. 90, n. r) probably refers to the well-known 
passage in T. B. Pesachim, 3 a. 


Menahem's Lexicon was notoriously the occasion of a severe personal 
attack on its author by Dunash b. Labrat. Dunash does not attack 
Menahem's system ; his criticism is directed only against single 
passages. Dunash states that he discussed 200 passages ; in fact only 
160 are examined by him. Dr. Bacher (p. 96) believes that, voluntarily 
or involuntarily, Dunash gave up his task. I incline to the alternative 
hypothesis, mentioned by Dr Bacher, that Dunash's critique has not 
come down to us in a complete form. It is not to be supposed that 
in this, his first work, dedicated to the statesman Hasdai ibn 
Shaprut, Dunash would have promised more than he was able 
or willing to perform. A missing fragment in Dunash's critique 
on "jriplETt (Gen. iii. 16) I restored in my Essay on Ibn Chiquitilla, 
p. 126. Besides the critique on Menahem, Dunash also composed 
a criticism of Saadiah, which apparently was never completed. It is 
remarkable that Dunash, in his first work, speaks of Saadiah with 
great respect, styling him 'Opt • This expression has frequently given 
rise to the error {hat Saadiah was Dunash's grandfather. 'OpT, 
however, is the Hebrew equivalent of the Arabic ""iW (p. 97, note 1. 
Cp. Harkavy, Studien u. Mitiheilungen, V, 89). I do not see the 
necessity of assuming that "Opt, any more than the Arabic ^K', 
means "teacher"; the Arabic term for "teacher" is HSnDN. The 
words of Menahem's disciples (ed. Stern, p. 27), T'VS Ninp njD HJVpl 

'■Di anyri ji^ni byv bn VTr^n, and (ib. p. 48) "ppt mix -ycm nns 

"jail, do not imply that Dunash was personally a pupil of Saadiah. 

" Dunash awoke," Ibn Ezra remarks (Safa Berurah, 25 b), '' from 
the slumber of folly," i. e. in grammatical science he took a higher 
rank than his predecessors. This is especially exhibited in his Critique 
on Saadiah, in which, according to Dr. Bacher (p. 98), " The great event 
in Hebrew grammar, the discovery of the weak radicals and their 
laws is foreshadowed." But that does not prevent him from 
occasionally diverging from the lines correctly marked out by the 
predecessors whom he criticizes. Still, I think DT1K (Ps. xlii. 5) 
should be excluded from the examples given by Dr. Bacher (p. 103). 
(See my notice in the Revue des Etudes Juives, XXXI, 118.) 

The dispute between Menahem and Dunash was notoriously con- 
tinued by their disciples. Bacher, however, does not discuss the 
controversial writings of the latter ; as they did not travel beyond the 
sphere of grammatical knowledge covered by their teachers. The 
author here, too, accepts the identification of Jehudah b. David, 
Menahem's pupil and collaborator, with Hajjug. The latter's efforts, 
however, no longer belong to the beginnings of Hebrew grammar. 
The manner in which Hajjug, in the introduction to his Essay on the 


Weak Radicals, cites Menahem, makes it improbable that be was 
the latter's pupil (see also my Beitr&ge, &c, p. 28). In my opinion, 
an argument for the same view is the circumstance that the term 
"Opt mentioned above was not, as I have already explained, used by 
Dunash in the sense of " teacher." 

Dr. Bacher has excluded the Karaites, as well as Menahem's disciples, 
because their grammatical outlook was not wider than that of their 
non-Karaite contemporaries, and because they exercised no influence 
on the development of Hebrew grammar. It would, however, be 
eminently desirable that the little which the Karaites actually did 
accomplish in the field of Hebrew linguistics were put together, so as 
to help us to form some clear notions of their work and influence. 
We trust that the author, who has recently turned his attention to 
the Karaites, will undertake this task, which, we are sure, he would 
accomplish in his usual masterly manner. 

In a concluding note (pp. n 5-1 17) the author tells us that, of the 
earliest " Masters of Hebrew " whom Abraham ibn Ezra enumerates 
in the Introduction to the Moznaim, he would leave out two ; the 
" Anonymous " from Jerusalem and Dunash b. Tamim. On the first, 
the author has shed sufficient light in the Revue des Etudes Juives, 
XXX, 232-256, where he has put to good use the material supplied 
by Kokowtsoff. We now know that this " Anonymous " is identical 
with Abulfarag Harun, that his essay, the full title of which is 

rwsonj^N mbbn ^a hva^Ni bm6x ">9y ^cns^x axro, consisted 

of eight parts, and it was completed in the year 1026 C. E. It does 
not belong to the beginnings of Hebrew grammar 1 . The second, 
Dunash b. Tamim, lived before Hajjug ; but the accounts that have 
come down to us concerning him are very meagre. He composed 
work which Abraham Ibn Ezra characterizes as "OJJ J15J90 Xiiyo 1DD 
31J/1 • Its object is the examination of the mutual relation of Arabic 
and Hebrew, but only from a lexicographical standpoint, as appears 
from Moses Ibn Ezra's Poetry (ed. Kokowtsoff, Wostochnifa Zamjetki, 
p. 215, 11. 1 6- 1 8). It would accordingly be incorrect to take Abraham 
Ibn Ezra's words to mean that Dunash's work is partly in Hebrew and 
partly in Arabic. (See Harkavy, DW' D3 Q^BHn, No. 2, p. 6, n. 3 ; also 
Geiger, Jud. Zeitschrift, X, 23 1 . ) To the authors mention ed by Dr. Bacher 
(p. 117) who have quoted from Dunash's book should be added the 

1 Of the Mushtamil, I found, in the British Museum, besides the MS. 
Or. 2592, mentioned above, p. 5, note 1, another portion of the second 
part in MS. Or. 2561, and a fragment of a Compendium of the Mushtamil 
in the Bodleian. I hope shortly to give some further information about 
these manuscripts. 


name of Ibn Bal'am, who cites Dunash in his Commentary on 
Deuteronomy xxviii. 27 (Fuchs, Studien uber Ibn Bal'am, p. xx). Ibn 
Bal'am, again, is drawn upon by Tanhum Jerushalmi, in his annota- 
tions on 1 Sam. v. 6 (see Fuchs, ib., p. xli, and Munk, Notice surAboul- 
walid, p. 59, n. 1). Among the few quotations in Abraham Ibn Ezra, 
one has remained unnoticed. It occurs in the first Commentary on 
Genesis i. 31, ed. Friedlander, p. 33 : DVO "•3 "TOIS Won |3 OWN *TI 

3313 -pn p ^ wn DV3 n^nanro rmi>n ntD*w ibtii -vis n-n 'jit5>K-vn 

'131 i>3NE) ba by Tmb mi '3 Vtnbvn, D^enni. Still this passage may 
not come from Dunash's philological work; but, as is more probable, 
from his Commentary on the Sepher Jezirah. This citation may help 
to clear up the obscurity in which this commentary is wrapped up 
(see Steinschneider, Die hebr. Uebers., pp. 394-401) '. 

Appendices and Corrections (pp. 11 7- 11 8) and a list of the quoted 
and elucidated Hebrew and Arabic grammatical termini (pp. 1 18-120) 
close Dr. Bacher's in many ways instructive and stimulating essay, 
which has again earned the author the sincere thanks of all friends of 
Hebrew linguistic science. 

Samuel PoznaAski. 

Berlin, December 29, 1895. 

By Prop. Steack. 

Abriss des biblischen Aram&iseh. Grammatik, nach Handschrifien 
bericktigter Text, Wdrterbuch. Von Prof. Dr. Hebmann L. Steack. 
(Leipzig, T. C. Hinrich'sche Buchhandlung, 1896. 32 and 47 
pages, 8vo.) 

Pbop. Steack has published a grammatical compilation on the 
Aramaic used in the biblical books Ezra and Daniel, as a sequel to 
his Hebrew grammar published in 1893 (fifth edition). He had 
announced this Abriss as early as 1885 in the series which he has 
edited entitled " Porta linguarum orientalicum." In the introduction 
to this work, Prof. Strack gives his reasons for the delay and for its 

1 Of the manuscripts enumerated by Dr. Steinschneider, I have 
examined two, the Berlin MS. 78, and MS. Bodl. Beggio 51 (of Stein- 
schneider' s copy), but have not found in either the words cited by Ibn