Kimchi, Joseph, Ben-isaac

Kimchi, Joseph, Ben-Isaac, a distinguished Jewish Rabbi, father of the preceding (David), was born in Spain in the latter half of the 11th century, but was obliged to quit Spain during the terrible persecutions by the Mohammedans, and settled at Narbonne, France. Just as little is known of his personal history as of his son's. He was well versed in the science of the Hebrew language and Biblical exegesis, and by the introduction into Southern France of that thorough scholarship for which the Spanish Jews in his day are so celebrated, gave a new impetus to the study of the O.-Test. Scriptures in the original. As has been pithily said, he became the Aben-Ezra of Southern France. He died about 1180. He wrote a number of valuable contributions to exegetical theology, but it is as a theologian, especially as a polemic, that Joseph Kimchi excelled. Hiis most important works are: סֵפֶר הִבּרַית(Book of the Covenant), a treatise against Christianity, in the form of a dialogue between a Jew (Maamin or believer) and a Christian (Min or heretic), and which was published in the Milchemeth ha-Shem (Constantinople, 1710,8vo): — סֵפֵר מַלחֲמוֹת הִשֵׁם, against a Jewnamed Peter Alphonse, who had become a Christian: this work was never published. He also wrote in Hebrew verse the maxims of Solomon ben- Gabirol (of this fragments appeared in the Zion [Francf. 1842, 8vo], ii, 97- 100); some Hebrew hymns, which were inserted in the Aijaleth haShachar (published by Mard. Jare [Mantua, 1612,8vo]); a Hebrew translation of Bachia ben-Joseph's morals, printed in the works of the latter (Leipzig, 1846, 12mo); besides commentaries on most of the books of the O.T. The last are as follows:

(1.) Commentary on the Pentateuch, entitled ספר תורה (The Book of the Law); fragments are extant in MS., De Rossi 166, and in the quotations of his son D. Kimchi:

(2.) Commentary on the earlier Prophets, called ספר המקנה, The Bill of Purchase, in allusion to Jer 32:11:

(3.) Commentary on the later Prophets, called ספר הגלוי (The unfolded Book, in allusion to Jer 32:14). These works, too, have not as yet come to light, and we only know them through the numerous quotations from them dispersed through David Kimchi's Commentaries on the Prophets:

(4.) Commentary on Job, of which defective MSS. are preserved in the Bodleian Library and at Munich, 200: —

(5.) Commentary on Proverbs, a perfect MS. of which exists in the Munich Library, No. 242:

(6.) Hebrew Grammar, called ספר זכרון (The Book of Renmembrance), which is the first written by a Jew in a Christian country, and is quoted by D. Kimchi in the Miklol, קנא, b:

(7.) Another grammatical work. Entitled ספר חבור הלקט, also quoted in the Miklol; קלו, a. "Both as a commentator and a grammarian," says Ginsburg (in Kitto, Bibl. Cyclop. vol. ii, s.v.), "Joseph Kimchi deserves the highest praise; and, though his works still remain unpublished, his contributions to Biblical literature produced a most beneficial influence, inasmuch as they prepared the way in Christian countries for a literal and sound exegesis. His son, David Kimchi, who constantly quotes him, both in his commentaries and under almost every root of his Hebrew Lexicon, has familiarized the Hebrew student with the grammatical and exegetical principles of this deservedly esteemed Hebraist." See, besides the works cited under David Kimchi, Biesenthal and Lebrecht's edition of D. Kimchi's Radicum Liber (Berlin, 1847), col. 24 sq.; and Geiger's excellent treatise in Ozar Nechmnad (Vienna, 1856), i, p. 97-119; Bartolocci, Mag. Biblioth. Rabbin. 3:327; Literaturblatt des Orients, 1850; Furst, Bibliotheca Judaica, ii, 186 sq. (J. H.W.)

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