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AN UNKNOWN GRAMMATICAL WORK BY 
ABUL-FARAJ HARUN 

By Hartwig Hirschfeld, Jews' College, London 

When examining a number of Genizah fragments belong- 
ing to the British Museum I came across two paper leaves, 
18 cm. X 14.5 cm. with 21 lines to the page. They are written 
in Arabic and in Hebrew square characters. The first page 
bears nothing but the title ria^N epNxn 'B Tipj^N 3NTO 
TO Ti?bt< J?B3 rntnay^N "Pearl-Strings on the grammatical in- 
flections of the Hebrew language- — may God make it useful." 
No work of this title has been known before, and as the 
name of the author is absent it must be left to conjecture. 

In his opening remarks the author refers to another gram- 
matical work of his to which he gave the title rn^K 'B 'BKD^K 
"The Adequate [book] on the [Hebrew] language." A copy 
of a treatise so named exists in Petrograd, 1 but no details of 
this work are at hand, and at present not easily to be ob- 
tained The author of the last-named work is Abul-Faraj 
Harun, a prominent Karaite grammarian who lived in 
Jerusalem in the earlier part of the eleventh century. We 
possess a large work of his both grammatical and lexico- 
graphical under the title VgckVk '"?$? barwo^ aNna'jN 
JTMnay V« Habbx 'B ^IXB^KI ' ' The Comprehensive work on the 
roots and sections of the Hebrew language." Considerable 
portions of this work have been reproduced in the Arabic 
original as well as in French translation by the late Prof. 

i See Steinschneider, Die Arabische Literatur der Juden, p. 88. 

1 



2 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Bacher. 2 The author states in the beginning of our fragment 
that he produced a compendium to the "Adequate" work 
above mentioned under the title nxrDD 1 ?** the "Abridged" 
[work], and he also says that he wrote yet another and still 
more condensed compendium of which our fragment is apart. 
If we compare all these statements with that on the Kafi, 
which, he says, comprehends nearly all the sections of the 
Mushtamil, we come to the conclusion that these two works 
are identical, as both titles approximately express the same 
idea. Further support for the identity of the author of the 
fragment with that of the Mushtamil may be gained from 
the use of two grammatical terms common to both, viz. ]«riK 
(Bacher, p. 236, rem. 2) and ~niD. The author states that 
he produced the last abstract at the request of a pupil who 
wished to possess a vade mecum in which the bare gramma- 
tical facts were strung together. Hence the title Strings of 
Pearls which describes the character of the work very neatly. 
Our fragment gives the first leaf and one of the later ones. 
This, however, creates a problem of some obscurity. The 
last few lines of the Arabic text which in the appended repro- 
duction closely follow the original are in a very unsatisfac- 
tory condition. The third line from the end is disfigured by 
a hole in the paper with two half obliterated letters on 
either side of it. The missing word was possibly 7T\T\, but 
this is not certain. The last line only shows the word NrfobT 
the subject of which is missing. Finally there is the word 
nVaip written at the bottom of the page which apparently 
forms no part of the treatise, but states that this had been 
"collated" with the author's original or some authenticated 
copy. This is made probable by the various corrections in 
the MS. Diacritical points are missing, and Hebrew words 

' REJ., vol. XXX, p. 234 seq. 



UNKNOWN GRAMMATICAL WORK — HIRSCHFELD 3 

are vocalized according to the Palestinian system. The spell- 
ing of the Arabic text shows the same looseness which is 
common to Jewish-Arabic writings. 

Quite in keeping with Abul-Faraj Harun's Karaite de- 
nomination is the religious coloring of this dry grammatical 
treatise. This is another point in support of the assumption 
that Karaites were amongst the very earliest promoters of 
grammatical studies among Jews, since all their religious 
needs depended upon the correct interpretation of Holy. 
Writ. The writer, therefore, holds that to make oneself 
acquainted with the rules of the language is a religious duty. 
We should bear in mind that the author was a contemporary 
of Judah Hayyuj in Cordoba, and it is truly interesting to 
observe that the first steps in the really scientific recognition 
of the phenomena of the Hebrew language approximately 
synchronize in the East as well in the West. "The need," 
he says, "to gain an acquaintance with the Hebrew language 
brings with it the obligation of knowing the words of the 
Lawgiver in their true interpretation. No one can arrive 
at this whilst being ignorant of the language because he 
is liable to err and interpret falsely." This the author demon- 
strates by several examples. First, D'"K» "?3K (Gen. 50. 11) 
is not the "mourning of Egypt," for if this were so the word 
should be 'W as in the preceding passage, and the meaning 
would be the "mourner of Egypt," being a form like 3 Stf a D« 
etc. Second, D'D13 n^iao nbotn (Isaiah 9.4) is wrongly trans- 
lated "a garment bespattered with blood." If this were so we 
should expect n^Kiao, like "?Kiao orr? (Mai. 1. 7), whilst the cor- 
rect translation is "rolled", asptt ^n (Prov. 26. 27); third, 
natl^a (2 Sam. 3. 4) does not mean "without anything," 
because — but here the first leaf ends. 

The second leaf deals with the classification of words 



4 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

which appear either as prepositions or nouns, as by (Levit. 1 . 
11; Hos. 11. 7), nj? (Levit. 23. 16; Gen. 49. 27). pn^ is a 
proper noun in Amos 7. 16, but an imperfect in Ps. 2.4. D| P 
is past tense in Ps. 78, 431, but a participle in Zech. 12. 2. 
The test of these instances is that the addition of the ter- 
mination 0' makes them nouns in plural, whilst a prefixed 
1 yields a verbal form. 

The last page contains the beginning of a chapter on the 
rules of various verbal and nominal formations. Unfortu- 
nately the opening word or words are missing, and it is 
therefore impossible to reproduce the author's words with- 
out guessing. He apparently speaks about the formation 
of a word on the model of another of similar vocalization 
but different etymology. In some groups the first radicals 
belong to different classes, in others only the second radicals 
differ, whilst the first ones are identical. If all three radicals 
in two roots are identical they are congruent. Four points 
demand special attention: first — the number of identical 
radicals as in ]l"in and ]im; second — the order of the radi- 
cals in nouns with prefixed as in \\ba and D130, which are 
not formed like ]12f~i; third— the number of strong conso- 
nants which must not differ in two verbal roots. This yields 
regular forms and individually bear upon the sense of hear- 
ing as TDr and Tio»; fourth — there should not be a guttural 
letter in either word, because .... the letters .... do not 
enter in it. 



UNKNOWN GRAMMATICAL WORK — HIRSCHFELD 5 

Brit. Mus. Or. 5565 E 
fol. 13 ro I'-ltttn 'B nipy^K 3Mna 

na n^M ys: n'anay^M tnbhx 

foi. 13 vo rr^Ji nwy: " D»a 

bow MiMxnaM n: 1 ? 1 ™ 'b 'SMa^M mxnSK ma ip 

nMiM'r 1 ™ p n'B ^xn mo mid mo imb^m »b» naMiaM 

nxnDM im 'tmd "?mdi 'bmd^m moirr o 1 ? mo 

n'B ipy mano^M -ixnao 1 ™ p him -iom -ixnao 

m"?ixm pan Mnjo m^o: n'B ^oj'i inwxn^M 'b mpy 

amy mm* Mm iMot"?M p td'^m 'b aywDn Mn'"?M yfv 

nsin na b^ o 1 ? nnsin l 1 ? «oo nMXroM^M "by 

'"7Myn n 1 ? 1 ? m'tmd Mna mo or 1 ? mo'b yoriMi MTfo 

nso 1 ?! moa -|^1 ^mb im moo^mi bb\b» }a iioxy^M 

fryMi m^K o"?y '"?« "m.xn'^M n^M m» jm 

"mi m"?i '"?yn jnpo^M nMHMay p'Mpn n^y aiji 1 ? 

Mna ^nMj^M }»b m^Ma "?nMJ i^do^mi -\b-i oby ,{ ?k 



ixo ]tn ohxo ^aM TDsn 'b vbn bi pa o^ri ^r 

nTosni nr naa "?3M pa "738 iMa 1 ? -^ia i«a 1^1 

p -|"?nai -|^i ^MrioMi aqs a^ij ^rio nxo ]'rn 



hhi^o nrai o'ona nbbvo nbnv\ TDsn 'b b"?31 bt 

on 1 ? "7110 n^Mno mMa 1 ? "i^ia -^i i«a i^imo-d 

pM ^ui 10 Mona tq-imo Mni'DBiii "jmuo 

na-( i^a "?M'oy p too rra idbi b"?3 10 -[Hai 

. . . ip iMa 1 ? i^ia ]M3 1*71 nmp' '» -na 

fol. 14 ro M*7M ]13' IM n^X' M 1 ? n'M^n^Ml "|^1 ^MIIOMI 

yaMI^Ml I"? 15 ! "?MriOMl -\H p-\ '3 p3 D1M3 

mM3 naron -|T ^y pa mMai ddm pa' 3 ]m n^x' 
mnoo ny "i^ai ddm imnp' by ^mi hpni 

» On margin. 



THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 



ddk -iy bsw -ipas a-ma naitn 

Ton t6i pa ^apnDB ^ysi ddk pa' dokd^ki 

^ys pn»' n'D03 30V ddk pn»' n'3 *?y 

p*3 '2KB "?VS1 DDK 113' D-IMD^M "?3pnDB 

ni3» 30 'Mn h'xkb H^ys " ^« 30 -i»k 



"jys rmniN d'-ixb3 Dtp ipk ddk apy ,! 7n« 
nanyni ddk by\ id d'^pit m dp 'a:N n:n 

"l^K TBX^N 1N11 yDl 1 ? 1 ? 'i^N DND1 1V3 DDp^K Kin 

ops yoi^K dkbi iv nn's ]Dn lias 1 ? 'ks d's-M 
*7K iki Kn'B pn kiki ^ya^ 1 ? k 1 ? ddk 1 ? 1 ? nn"?x 
fibs'? 'Mi ddk k"? "?ys pan ik nn^x ops tbx 
"raD '^y tbx 1 ™ ikii ya^K dkbi nr nn's ]Dn 
-|^i p *7ipn K^ysi nbdk pan i« nn"?x "jna^K 

130, 30. IBjP Dp D'30 T 3?> D'D0 Dtp 
fol. 14 vo IKtlK^K 01-10 'B 3K3 

pan ]N 'jars khtj rtBD^a litis 1 ? pi inbki 

•p-in^N 'B n"?k Nonmii tkd 'b pn'iKDnB pntss^K 

rrin 'B '"?xk^>k «|-in^K pan ]k ar ]kb fi'^XN^N 

fr^xK^K •p-in'rK "?a -r:nn ik nr nps nin p tmb 

nijj n"7Sj pa Knxya -i":ir tin nfcs; njn pa 

ftTHJriD -n xn^a it'^xk^k inn^N pan ik nr Kh 

'n 'n "?a kh"? t: 'n kbb i"?ia i^n i«a kin in 1 ? 

KID nlJl^K TKD 'B Kn 1 ? Knh^iiKBB 31' KBM<1 

fitJB^N nin ris^a ik in 1 ? kh 1 ? ^na pan"? tji kb 

k'tiib lan d 1 ? inKi nil 'B Kna fuitiB^K hob 1 ? 1 ? 

oi-w l«n«^« 'B «s>kt 'i^K ]K "7'p npi nn"? 

in p-in ptn ^riB fr^xK^K »)nn^« -ny kwb 

"inn 'B wn^Ni n'n^Ni ]"^s« inn 'b 'n^ni n'n^n 

a'mn kj;nti i^n ^Kham ]""?xn 



UNKNOWN GRAMMATICAL WORK — HIRSCHFELD 7 



l"Vs« ND'V NDHDn '£> ]'DKD^N hVk ]lV(J D13IJ 
'VxK rttffl^H OKI 'S W-bR "IK 11X13 tHMM nVd 

vb ]«■) -|iVbVk nj kjjkti -]Vi Vkiidni 

nrs^K oton« in Kim ynttehb^ % b -|i^bVk iVnin 

«nri«ji m™ vbdVn liDNn ,( 7y NarmiB 713* ]n im 

KjmTi "jVi ^KhDKi h1d|> -liDj pi 

tib inn^H in 1 ? urn's ynn« inn ]Tin nV in 

Kn"?3T 

n^aip 



4 Hole in MS.