Comparative Semitic Philology in the Middle Ages: From Sa'Adiah Gaon to Ibn Barun (10th-12th C.)

By Aharon Maman; David Lyons | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
MOSHEH HAKOHEN IBN GIKATILLA,
JUDAH B. BALʿAM, AND ISAAC B. BARŪN

15.1 Mosheh HaKohen ibn Gikatilla

Ibn Gikatilla lived and worked in the third quarter of the eleventh century C.E.1 He translated into Hebrew the grammatical treatises of Ḥayyūj and compiled his own grammatical work called Kitāb alTadhkīr wa-l-Taʾnīth (Treatise on masculine and feminine genders). Most of this treatise has been lost; about 10 percent of it has been published (Téné, 1972, p. 1383), initially by Kokowtzow (1916, pp. 59–66) and subsequently by Allony (1949). Ibn Gikatilla composed a commentary to the Bible, too: this also was almost entirely lost. Poznanski (1895) collected all that is known of the content of this commentary, by means of citations adduced by scholars in Ibn Gikatilla's name. Bacher (1909) discovered an Arabic translation, with an appended commentary, on the Book of Job; relying on certain indications, he ascribed this work to Ibn Gikatilla and issued it as a part of the Harkavy Memorial Volume (St. Petersburg 1909/Jerusalem 1969, vol. 1, pp. 221–72). Kitāb al-Tadhkīr wa-l-Taʾnīth is a selective grammatical lexicon: it deals with (a) biblical substantives showing two plural forms, one of the masculine pattern and one of the feminine or (b) such as have a plural form that seems to be discordant with its grammatical gender (i.e., a “feminine” plural form for a noun of a “masculine” pattern (= having no morpheme suffix of the feminine) or a “masculine” plural form for a noun of a feminine pattern. The character of this lexicon is such that it is not meant to provide lexical definitions, not even (Arabic) renderings for its entries: such, in fact, is the situation: for 28 of the 40 surviving entries, neither a definition nor a translation appears, for the entry concerned. It follows that no language comparison is to be expected in this lexicon. Nonetheless, one explicit comparison of Heb. with Arabic is encountered, namely,

(Allony, p. 59). The

1 For a general overview of Ibn Gikatilla see Maman, 2000a, pp. 275–77.

-384-

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