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A CURIOUS IBN EZRA MANUSCRIPT 7II
A CURIOUS IBN EZRA MANUSCRIPT.
The object of the following lines is to call the attention of lovers
of the commentaries of Ibn Ezra to a MS. which probably is not
known to them.
In the printed catalogue of the " Proprietary and Cottonian Library "
at Plymouth, the second entry reads : " Abenezrse comment, super
Gen. & Exodum."
The MS. itself is labelled thus :
"Ab. Abenezrse super Genesim & Exodum latine versus per Meth-
rydatem, Gaonis Commentum super ultimam prophetiam Danielis; —
in a good hand of the sixteenth century, folio," &c.
The size of the MS. is half-folio.
A more recent hand than that of the MS. has written on the first
Oeilampadii Commenta de Genesi.
180 fol. init. Ssec. XVI.
Since the MS. itself frequently gives the names of the authors as
"Aben Azra" and Ben Caspi, the question is not only who is this
Oeilampadius (rather Oleilanip. ?), but also how did this writer come
to ascribe it to a bearer of this name, a name very befitting an
author or student (" man of the oil-lamp ").
The Rev. J. Polack suggests to me that Ben Caspi's super-commentary,
which is partly contained in this MS., may have borne in Hebrew
a name such as 11ND? |DtJ>, which was mistaken for the name of the
author. But Dr. Friedlander, in his " Ibn Ezra Literature " (Society
of Heb. Lit. IV), remarks of Caspi that this author had the habit of
naming his works with an allusion to *]D3 in reference to his own
The MS. is in Latin throughout. It contains — firstly, a very brief
abstract of Ibn Ezra's Introduction to his Commentary on the Penta-
teuch ; then Ibn Ezra on Gen. i-iv. 8, with many omissions.
This part ends with the words : et mille ligna & mille lapides
aderant ad interficiendum eum.
After which follows :
Finis Abenazrse. Seq. Additio Bencaspi sup ipsius [?] comment [?]
1 On the other hand, a super-commentary by Caspi on Ibn Ezra is
described simply as y"x i® niTOn 'd (Renan-Neubauer, Les Ecrivains Juifs
franfais du JCIV' Steele, p. 138).
712 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
This part of the super-commentary of Caspi (or is it more correct
to call him with this writer Ibn Caspi ?) deals with several points
contained in the preceding part of Ibn Ezra's commentary.
After this, on a fresh page (p. 19), begins the Latin translation of
the commentary of Ibn Ezra on the whole book of Exodus, with the
omission (as also stated in the heading by the writer of it) of
grammatical matters. Still, a cursory glance already reveals the
fact that it sometimes differs from the text usually found in print,
although that is the version it represents. Not alone are there
omissions and abbreviations, but expansions are also to be found,
as will be seen by comparing several quotations from the MS. given
below, with the printed text.
Into this Commentary of Ibn Ezra, the notes on it by Caspi, are
almost to the end interwoven, as will be seen by the specimens
adduced immediately ; towards the end of the book, however, they
are not incorporated in the text, but as above, on Gen. i-iv, follow
The superscription, evidently by the hand of the writer of the MS.,
runs thus :
cum additionibus ben Caspi
Abrami Avenzari [here follows an illegible word, perhaps versus]
p. Methrydatem ex hebraico cm dimissione s. q. ad grammaticam
Then follows :
" Et hsec sunt nomina filiorum isrl. Superaddit et  pro continua-
tion sermonis preteriti," &c.
The following specimens, which are somewhat hastily extracted,
may contain some unavoidable mistakes in spelling, but they will
nevertheless give a sufficiently clear idea of the character of the
flbn Ezra on Ex. i. 10 towards the end, DWU3 l"N] Dixit marenos
egredietur pro egrediemur, i. e. expellemur de terra [words illegible]
egredietur ad evitandum augufi quo summo pe Aegyptii utebantur
& cavebant int. loquendu. [The latter words are not in the usual
[lb. ver. 16, after the translation of DiVay WO] & hoc indicat
ep. [sancta ?] Scriptura qua utimur hebrse. [Then in red ink] Prima
additio Ben caspi [again in black] p. p. duos transitus i. duabus viis
[word illegible] hebreus uno modo ab heber, pay] q. Latina int. pr.
atur transitus, qua transivit opinione. omnium gentiu mundi de
unitate dei, et vera fide, alio mo[do] p. p. transitum fluvii euphratis.
Nam in Mesopotamia ha[bi]tabat heber, & insula e[st] int'duos
A CUKIOUS IBN EZRA MANUSCRIPT 713
fluvios Tygrin & euphratem nee poterant [ea]m exire nisi fluvium
transissent. Ido dur [=Ideo dicuntur] hebrei [D ,- I3V] 1. transeuntes
& t. [turn] hoc e[st] quod dx deus p. Josuen in transitu fluvii hitarunt
pres uri ab initio. [Then in red ink :]
Secunda Additio eiusdem. [On Ibn Ezra, ib. T\Mt7 HT1. Then in
black] et hoc indicat scriptura qua utimur hebrea ost.[endare ?] hoc
ideo dicit, qua quidem invidentes nobis, opinati sunt linguam nfam
[nostram ?] et hebraicam caracteres tu[m] caldaicos sive assyrios ut
negent nos et priores ceteris, ido postillator [?] hoc excludens, dit
[dicit] caracteres quos hemus [habemus] e. [esse] hebraicos, cum
punctata Ira [Htera] Tau legitur Tau pro nomine illius Ire [literse]
quod derivafta] a xobo [verbo ?] ituita [TWin Ez. ix. 4]. Quod e
signare . et In dx [inde dixit ?] Tau 1. signum quare et nomen illius
Ire et caracter e idem tarn legendo q. scribendo et icidem [?] e de
ceteris Iris chaldaicis neq. aliarum linguar. Ex quo lingua & carac-
teres hebraicos nos habere patet.
Abram. Et faciebant ma res [matres? ib. ver. 17, pTITll] Intelligitur
ipsas conatas fuisse ultra vires suos pueros conservare.
Tn this way, this MS. intersperses the notes of Caspi among the
explanations of Ibn Ezra. Generally the words : Abram, & Additio
Ben Caspi, or Ben Chaspi, are in red ink.
Here is one more specimen; Ibn Ezra on Ex. xii. 7, towards
the end (in rPWfft) : et notabulum bathim equofi e ad domus, et ad
mesuram cuius singulare e bath.
Additio Benchaspi. Prout in fragmentis et fractionibus [is this
the title of an arithmetical book ?] indicat, cp. [quod ?] Aegypti
solent commede re quosdam cibos ex similagine semicocta, et frag-
menta, supposito oleo instare minha quam d. jussit israelitis capii
[cassi ?] et frangi. Demfum] super ponef [superponitur ?] oleum
& sacrificar ut levitico. Bathim quando org. domu. ponitur cames
[t*Dp] subtra beth qu. org. mensuram illam ponitur patha subra beth,
in pronunciatione tamen uno modo proferuntur.
[ver. 8] Abram. Et comedent eum sup. azimis, &c.
Towards the end of Exodus, the notes of Caspi do not intrude into
the commentary of Ibn Ezra, but are collected and subjoined at the
end : on p. 167, after " noctis," the last word of Ibn Ezra's commen-
tary, we find these words :
Et sic fini3 Rabi Abram. in 60 tribus comtibus. [paragraphs or
On p. 168. Additio Bencaspi sap. am [com ?] pen. ultimo Abram.
The occasional variations, noticeable in this translation, from the
714 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
version in the commonly printed text, which version it yet mainly
follows 1 , and still more the fact of its being interspersed with the
notes of Caspi, make it probable if not certain, that it is translated
from a Hebrew MS., which slightly differed from our text.
At the conclusion of the commentary and super-commentary on
Exodus occur a few blank pages, then the MS. finishes with the com-
mentaries, in a Latin version, and one after another, of R. Saadya
Gaon and of Ibn Ezra on Daniel x-xii, thus forming with the previous
matter a curious conglomeration.
The translator " Methrydates " is no doubt identical with the
Flavius Mithridates who towards the close of the fifteenth century
rendered many Hebrew works into Latin 2 . It is, however, a new
point, I fancy, to find him among the translators of Ibn Ezra.
SYMPATHY WITH THE BRUTE CREATION.
As the Holy One, blessed be he, hath compassion upon man, so
hath he compassion upon the beasts of the field. As it is said in
"When a bullock or a sheep or a goat is brought forth, then it
shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and
thenceforth it shall be accepted for the oblation of an offering made
by fire unto the Lord s ."
Furthermore it is said:
"And whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young
both in one day 4 ."
And as the Holy One, blessed be he, hath compassion upon the
beasts of the field, so is he filled with mercy for the birds of the air.
For it is written : " If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the
way 5 ." Midrash Rabbi Deut., VI, I.
1 For information on the two Recensions of Ibn Ezra's Commentary,
see Dr. M. Friedlander, Essays on the Writings of Ibn Ezra, IV, p. 148 ff.
(cp. p. 151, cona S, and beginning of our first quotation above) ; and on the
super-commentary of Caspi, ibid., p. 231 if.
2 On this Mithridates see Steinschneider, Die hebraischen Uebersetzungen
des Mittdalters, pp. 492, 922, 930, and esp. 985 and the references there
given. Cf. Hamazkir, XXI, m, where a list of Mithridates' translations is
8 Lev. xxii. 27. 4 Idem, 28. 5 Deut. xxii. 6.