Moses Ha-cohen Ben-samuel Gikatilla

Moses ha-Cohen Ben-Samuel Gikatilla (also called Ibn-Gikatilla), a noted Jewish writer, flourished at Cordova near the opening of the 12th century. He was a pupil of the celebrated Ibn- Ganach, and is known to have been one of the most extensive commentators and grammarians, though, unfortunately for Biblical learning, none of his works seem to be extant. Only fragments of his are preserved in the writings of other commentators, which reveal him to have been a superior scholar and master of Biblical lore. Unlike most of the interpreters of his time, he endeavored to explain away all the Messianic prophecies of the O.T. (comp. Aben-Ezra on Isaiah xi), and assigned the authorship of some psalms to the Babylonian captivity (comp. Aben-Ezra on Psalm 43), at the time when both the Synagogue and the Church believed that the whole Psalter proceeded from David. Like Ibn-Saadia, he frequently departed from the Masoretic division of the text. Thus למכביר, at the end of ver. 31, in Job 36, he took over to על כפיםin the following verse; i.e., "He giveth meat in abundance, covering the hands with light" (comp. also Habakkuk 3). The influence which this critic must have exercised upon contemporary and subsequent expositors of the Bible may be judged of from the fact that the eminent Aben-Ezra quotes his work so largely. He is generally quoted by Aben-Ezra as ר משה הכהן הספרדי, R. Moses haCohen ha-Sephardi, i.e., the Spaniard; or ר משה הכהן , R. Moses ha-Cohen; or ר משה הספרדי, R. Mose haSephardi; or simply רמשה, R. Mose. These different appellations must be borne in mind by the student of Hebrew exegesis to identify this celebrated commentator.

Dr. Ginsburg, in his article on Gikatilla in Kitto, 2:129, gives a list of the places where his writings are quoted by commentators. It is more complete than the list furnished by Dukes, Beitrage zur altesten Auslegung (Stuttg. 1844), 2:180 sq.

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