The ‘Risala’ of Yehuda Ibn Quraysh and its Place in Hebrew Linguistics
The Risāla of Yěhuda Ibn Quraysh (10th century) has evoked many suggestions and presuppositions among modern scholars with regard to its place within the development of Hebrew linguistics. This paper does not deal extensively with the Risāla on its own, but examines possible connections of the Risāla with contemporary and later linguistic works. In the first place, an article of Allony (1970) is discussed, in which the author states that the second chapter of the Risāla was influenced by a work of Sacadya Gaon, the Kitāb al-sab-cīn lafza al-mufrada. However, his arguments are not convincing, as already observed by Becker (1977) and Téné (1980). Ibn Quraysh was completely independent from the works of Sacadya Gaon and in fact stood outside the tradition in the study of the Hebrew language which Sacadya Gaon had established. Ibn Quraysh did not have a lasting influence on later grammarians because of his unusual linguistic approach. Direct influence is demonstrable in the Kitāb Jāmic al-’Alfāz of al-Fāsī. In this connection the problem is discussed, whether Ibn Quraysh was a Qaraite, like al-Fāsī, as some scholars have thought. Works of later grammarians like Ibn Tamīm, Ibn Janāh and Ibn Hayyūj are considered, but their alleged dependence upon the Risāla is disproved. The most interesting connection lies between the Risāla and the Kitāb al-Muwāzana by Ibn Bārūn. This book is clearly a comparative work like the Risāla. Ibn Bārūn, too, is aware of the kinship of certain Semitic languages and he shares particular views of Ibn Quraysh regarding lexical explanations and Hebrew grammar. But it is remarkable that the works of Ibn Quraysh and Ibn Bārūn did not make an impact on the later development of Hebrew linguistics and did not succeed in focusing attention on the comparative aspect in the study of Hebrew and Arabic. Reasons for this are given by Téné (1980). It is clear that both the Risāla and the Kitāb al-Muwāzana represent an episodic development within the history of Hebrew linguistics, which was not developed by later Hebrew linguists until modern scholars of comparative linguistics took it up again.
Published online: 01 January 1981
b. Bārūn, Muwāzana
b. Janāḥ, Sefer ha-shorashim
b. Labraṭ, Těshuvot
Allony, Nehemya [= Alloni, Něhemya
Bargès, Jean Joseph Léandre
ha-Cohen Fishman, Y. L.
Frankl, Pinkus Fritz
Skoss, Solomon L.
Le Tourneau, Roger