Kimchi, David, Ben-joseph

Kimchi, David, Ben-Joseph (by the Jews frequently called Redak, from the initial letters רד8ק = ר8 דוד קמחי), one of the most distinguished Jewish writers of the Middle Ages, the great exponent of Hebrew grammar and lexicography, was born at Narbonne, in the south of France, in 1160. Very little is known of his private life. He must certainly have enjoyed, even among his contemporaries, considerable influence, gained perhaps, in a measure, by his masterly defence of Moses Maimonides; for m 1232 we find him acting as the arbiter to settle the dispute then existing between the Spanish and French rabbis respecting the opinions advanced in the More Nebokim of Maimonides. He died about 1240. His works are:

(1.) Commentary on the Pentateuch (פרוש על התורה), only Genesis has been published by A. Ginsburg (Pressburg, 1842), cap. i, 1-10 being supplied by Kirchheim from the writings of Kimchi, as the MS. was defective:

(2.) Commentary on the earlier Prophets (פרו על נביאים ראשונים), i.e. Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, printed in the Rabbinical Bibles edited by Jacob ben-Chajim (Venice, 1525, 1548), Buxtorf (1619), and Frankfurter (1724-27):

(3.) Commentary on the later Prophets (נביאים אחרונים פרוש על), i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the minor prophets; also given in the Rabbinical Bibles:

(4.) Commentary on the Psalm s (פרוש על תהלים), first printed in 1477, reprinted several times, and also given in the Rabbinical Bibles of Jacob ben-Chajim, but not in those edited by Buxtorf and Frankfurter:

(5.) Commentary on Ruth (פרוש על מגלת רות), published for the first time by Mercier (Paris, 1563):

(6.) Commentary on Chronicles (פרוש על רברי הימים), given in the Rabbinical Bibles:-

(7.) Commentary on Job (פרוש על איוב), which has not yet been published:-(8.) The celebrated work called iMiklol (מכלול), or Perfection, which consists of two parts-a. A Hebrew Grammar (חלק הדקדוק), usually bearing the name Miklol, edited, with notes, by Elias Levita (Ven. 1545), and by M. Hechim (Furth, 1793):-and

(9.) b. A Hebrew Lexicon (הלק הענין), commonly called The Book of Roots (סקר השרשים), the best editions of which are by Elias Levita (Venice, 1546), and Biesenthal and Lebrecht (Berlin, 1847):

(10.) Refutation of Christianity, (תשובות לנוצרים), in which he denies that Messianic predictions are embodied in the Psalm s; printed together with Lippmann's celebrated Nitsachon (נצחין) (Amst. 1709, 1711; Konigsberg, 1847): — and

(11.) Another polemical work called יכוח, also printed with the Nitsachon. Kimchi, as he himself frankly says in his introduction to the Aiklol, did not so much furnish new and startling criticism as an exhibit of the results of the manifold and extensive labors of his numerous predecessors. His lexicon is, to a great extent, a translation of Ibn-Ganach's Book of Roots SEE IBN-GANACH, and he freely quotes the great Jewish-

Arabic, commentators, grammarians. and lexicographers, Saadia, IbnKoreish, Chajug, Ibn-Ganach, Ibn-Gebirol, Ibn-Giath, Ibn-Balaam, Gikatilla, and many other celebrities. "But, though his claims are modest," says Ginsburg, in Kitto (Cyclop. Bibl. Lit. vol. ii, s.v.), " yet his merits are great. He was the first who discovered the distinction between the long and the short vowels, whereby the understanding of the changing of vowels has been greatly facilitated. He moreover defended a simple, natural, and grammatical exegesis, at a time when most of his Jewish brethren were enamored of Hagadic, Cabalistical, and astrological interpretations. It is therefore not to be wondered at that he became so eminent among his brethren that they applied to him, by a play of words, the saying in the Mishna (Aboth, 3:17), אם אין קמח אין תורה, No Kimchi, no understanding of the Scriptures." Among Christian scholars also Kimchi enjoyed great celebrity, more especially, however, among the precursors of the Reformation and the Reformers themselves, "notwithstanding his hostility to Christianity, which is displayed throughout his commentaries, and which arose from the persecutions that the Jews had to endure at the hands of the Crusaders." Many passages obnoxious to adherents of the Christian faith were struck out by the Inquisition, and are omitted in later editions of Kimchi's Commentaries. Pococke collected all the passages which had been omitted from the Prophets in Not. ad Portam Mosis, in his theological works (ed. Lend. 1740), i, 241 sq. The first efforts of Christian scholars in compiling Heb. lexicons, or glossaries, and grammars, were based on the labors of Kimchi, and the notes accompanying the Latin Bibles of Mmnster and Stephen are derived from him. Excerpts of his Commentary on Isaiah were translated into Latin by Munster, and a Latin version of the whole of it was published by Malanimeus (Florence, 1774). Leusden published Latin versions of Joel (Utrecht, 1656) and Jonah (Utrecht, 1657). De Muis published a Latin translation of Malachi (Paris, 1618). Vehe published a German translation of Amos (Col. 1581), and Dr. M'Caul translated the Commentary on Zechariah and the Preface to the Psalm s into English (London, 1837). A Latin translation of the Commentary on the Psalm s was made by Janvier (Constanz, 1544). His grammatical labors embraced in the Miklol was translated into Latin by Guidacier (Paris, 1540), and a Latin version of the Roots was published in 1535. See Steinschneider, Catalogus Lib. HIebr. in Bibliotheca Bodleiana, col. 868-875; F irst, Bibliotheca Judaica, ii, 183 sq., and his Introd. to liebrew Dictionary ; the masterly biography of Kimchi by Geiger in Ozar Nechmad (Vienna, 1857), p. 157 sq.; Dukes, Die Famlilie Kirnchi

(Literaturblatt des Orients, 1850); Grtitz, Gesch. der Juden, 6:236 sq.; Kitto, Bibl. Cyclop. s.v.

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