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Joseph Kimhi

JOSEPH KIMHI was a native of southern Spain, and settled in Provence, where he was one of the first to set forth in the Hebrew language the results of Hebraic philology as expounded by the Spanish Jews in their Arabic treatises. He was acquainted moreover with Latin grammar, under the influence of which he resorted to the innovation of dividing the Hebrew vowels into five long vowels and five short, previous grammarians having simply spoken of seven vowels without distinction of quantity. His grammatical textbook, Sefer Ha-Zikkaron, "Book of Remembrance " (ed. W. Bacber, Berlin, 1888), was marked by methodical comprehensiveness, and introduced into the theory of the verbs a new classification of the stems which has been retained by later scholars. In the far more ample Sefer HaGaluy, "Book of Demonstration" (ed. Matthews, Berlin, 1887), Joseph Kimhi attacks the philological work of the greatest French Talmud scholar of that day, R. Jacob Tam, who espoused the antiquated system of Menaftem b.Saruq, and this he supplements by an independent critique of Menahem. This work is a mine of varied exegetical and philological details. He also wrote commentaries the majority of which are lost on a great number of the scriptural books. Those on Proverbs and Job have been published. He composed an apologetic work under the title Sefer Ha-Berith (" Book of the Bond "), a fragment of which is extant, and translated into Hebrew the ethico-philosophical work of Bahya ibn Paquda (" Duties of the Heart "). In his commentaries he also made contributions to the comparative philology of Hebrew and Arabic.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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