ALFASI, DAVID BEN ABRAHAM (Ar. Abu Suleiman Dāʾūd ibn Ibrahim Al-Fāsī; tenth century), Karaite grammarian   and commentator. Alfasi, who came from Fez, Morocco, spent a number of years in Ereẓ Israel where he composed a Hebrew-Arabic lexicon of the Bible (Kitāb Jāmiʿ al-Alfāẓ). The dictionary is extant in both a long and a short version, which was published in a critical edition by Skoss (see bibl.). The exact relationship between the two is not clear yet and needs further investigation. The dictionary consists of 22 chapters, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The entries are arranged according to the principle of bi-literal roots. He cites the translations of Onkelos and Jonathan b. Uzziel by name or refers to them as al-Targum, al-Suryānī, or al-Mutarjim. He also quotes the Mishnah and the Talmud, the masorah and the Rabbanite siddur. Alfasi mentions saadiah twice as "al-Fayyūmī," but he frequently uses and criticizes his commentaries without mentioning his name. He often designates the Bible al-Qurʾān or al-Kitāb (the Scriptures) and the Jewish scholars, al-Rabbānīn or al-Rabbūnīn, as was customary among Karaite authors. Alfasi's dictionary is one of the earliest and most important for the investigation of the history of Hebrew philology. The author reveals a fine sense for language and a profound, and, for his time, comprehensive, knowledge of ancient Hebrew linguistics. One of the important aspects of the dictionary is the comparative one: He quotes numerous parallels between biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, Arabic (both literary and spoken), and mishnaic Hebrew, many of which tally with those found in the Risāla of Judah b. Quraysh (whom the author does not mention), and many which have been accepted by present-day philologists. Alfasi explains many roots by metathesis or permutation of letters. He follows the Tiberian systems and the Palestinian grammarians as to the masoretic text, vocalization, and accents. The dictionary contains a wealth of information pertaining to early Karaite Bible exegesis as well as historical and material conditions in Ereẓ Israel in Alfasi's time. Compendia of the short version were compiled successively by levi b. japheth , Eli b. Israel, and ali b. suleiman (and were incorporated by Skoss in the apparatus of his edition). Alfasi's commentaries on the Psalms and the Song of Songs have not been preserved. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Pinsker, Likkutei Kadmoniyyot, 1 (1860), 117 ff., 223 ff.; S.L. Skoss, Hebrew-Arabic Dictionary of the Bible of David Abraham al-Fasi, 1 (1936), introd.; 2 (1945); EJ, 3 (1929), 273–5 (includes detailed bibliography). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Maman, Comparative Semitic Philology in the Middle Ages: From Sa'adiah Gaon to Ibn Barun (10th–12th c.) (2004), passim, esp. 182–275; G. Khan, in: M. Polliack (ed.), Karaite Judaism: A Guide to Its History and Literary Sources (2003), 291–318. (Solomon Leon Skoss)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alfasi, David (David ben Abraham Alfasi) — (fl. 10th cent)    Karaite grammarian and commentator. Originally from Fez, he settled in Palestine. He composed a Hebrew Arabic lexicon of the Bible …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • ALFASI, ISAAC BEN JACOB — (known as Rif; 1013–1103), author of the most important code prior to the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides. In a sense, Alfasi brought the geonic period to a close. The last of the Babylonian geonim, Hai Gaon, died when Alfasi was 25 years old. Alfasi …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • DAVID BEN LEVI OF NARBONNE — (latter half of the 13th century), scholar in Provence. Little is known about his life and personality other than that his principal teacher was Samuel b. Solomon Sekili, also a noted Provençal scholar. His few published responsa (in A. Sofer (ed …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ASHKENAZI, BEZALEL BEN ABRAHAM — (c. 1520–1591/94), talmudist and halakhic authority. Ashkenazi was born in Jerusalem or in Safed, where he studied in his youth under Israel di curiel . About 1540 he went to Egypt where he studied in Cairo under david b. solomon ibn Abi Zimra.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ISAAC BEN ABRAHAM OF NARBONNE — (13th century), halakhist of Provence. Almost no biographical details on him are known. He was a pupil (according to some, a colleague disciple) of Naḥmanides and jonah gerondi and one of the teachers of solomon b. abraham adret . Some identify… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ovadia ben Abraham Sforno — Ovadia Sforno (Césène, Italie, 1470 Bologne, 1550) fut un rabbin, médecin, philosophe, commentateur et légaliste juif de la fin du XVe et de la première moitié du XVIe siècle. Biographie Grande figure du judaïsme médiéval italien, Ovadia ben …   Wikipédia en Français

  • JONAH BEN ABRAHAM GERONDI — (c. 1200–1263), Spanish rabbi, author, and moralist. In his youth Gerondi studied in the French yeshivot under Moses b. Shneur and his brother samuel of Evreux, and later under solomon b. abraham of Montpellier. When in 1232 the latter began his… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • NATHAN BEN ABRAHAM II — (d. before 1102), av bet din of the academy of Ereẓ Israel. Nathan was a grandson of nathan b. abraham i . Few biographical details are known of him. He was appointed av bet din of the academy of Ereẓ Israel during the gaonate of abiathar in 1095 …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABRAHAM BEN DAVID OF POSQUIÈRES — (known as Rabad, i.e., Rabbi Abraham Ben David; c. 1125–1198); talmudic authority in Provence. Abraham was born in Narbonne, and died in Posquières, a small city near Nîmes famous for the yeshivah he established there. He lived during a… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne — (c. 1110 ndash; 1179) was a Provençal rabbi, also known as Raavad II, and author of the halachic work Ha Eshkol ( The Cluster ).Abraham ben Isaac was probably born at Montpellier. His teacher was Moses ben Joseph ben Merwan ha Levi, and during… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.