R. JUDAH IBN QURAYSH
(IN REMARK DUNASH B. TAMĪM)1
R. Judah ibn Quraysh's treatise the Risāla, which to the best of my knowledge was the first work to be devoted to language comparison of Hebrew/Arabic/Aramaic, has been fairly recently published in a high-quality edition (Becker, 1984) containing the Arabic original side by side with a Hebrew rendition by the editor. Becker, in addition, wrote a detailed introduction to the Risāla (pp. 1–111) in which he discussed a plethora of issues regarding Ibn Quraysh, concerning the treatise itself, the manuscripts of the work, its earlier editions, its linguistic theory, as its theory-cum-method of language comparison as reflected in the treatise, and the status of Ibn Quraysh as compared with other contemporary scholars and with those who succeeded him.2 On several topics having a bearing on the present study, I have commented on R. Judah ibn Quraysh's theory and, at times, on the conclusions reached by Becker. For such materials and remarks, see above, 2.1, 2.3.4, 220.127.116.11, 2.6.1, 18.104.22.168, 5.1.1, 5.3.3, as well as footnotes to pp. 34–35, 50, 65, 81 and 82; see also below the introduction to the Table of Comparisons (at the end of this work). On the position held by R. Judah ibn Quraysh among his contemporaries, especially in relation to Saʿadiah Gaʾon, I would merely add here: the view of Bacher (1894, Nitzanei, p. 65)3 and others,4 as well as that of Becker himself5 (ibid., p. 77), that the special
1 Regarding Dunash ibn Tamīm very little is known. P. Wechter (1964, notes
32, 33) recorded all bibliographical information available on the lifetime of that
grammarian, on his treatise on language comparison and on the writers who had
quoted him and the surviving fragments of his work.
2 For further insights into Ibn Quraysh's method, see Téné (1983, § 4.2.3).
3 As Bacher (ibid.) states: “Ibn Quraysh was the first to pave the way of sys-
tematic comparison of Semitic languages.”
4 Among them Wechter (1964), p. 130 and n. 34.
5 Becker (ibid.) writes: “Ibn Quraysh's individual innovation is his systematic com-
parison of words and of grammar, in the three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and
Arabic, all in the one specific treatise, treating of this subject and of no other.”
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Publication information: Book title: Comparative Semitic Philology in the Middle Ages: From Sa'Adiah Gaon to Ibn Barun (10th-12th C.). Contributors: Aharon Maman - Author, David Lyons - Translator. Publisher: Brill. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 180.
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