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Dictionaries, Hebrew

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

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The earliest known work giving a lexical survey of part of the Hebrew language, with comments, is the dictionary of Biblical proper names (Ερμενεία Εβραικῶν ΟΝομάτων) ascribed to Philo of Alexandria, and in any case the work of a Greek Jew. Origen, in the third century, enlarged it, and Jerome, at the end of the fourth century, worked it over in Latin (P. de Lagarde, "Onomastica Sacra," 2d ed., 1887; Schürer, "Geschichte," 3d ed., 3:540). Aside from these first lexical works on the Bible, which have been preserved only within the Christian Church, there are no traces of a similar attempt in pre-geonic times. The manner in which the Bible was expounded and its language handed down by tradition in the Jewish schools of Palestine and Babylon, precluded the need of lexical aids. Traditional literature, beginning with the tannaitic Midrash, contains, of course, numerous lexical comments on the words of the Bible; and this literature, including the old Bible translations, must be regarded as the earliest and most important source of Hebrew lexicology.

Talmudic Lexicons.

The first lexicon mentioned in Hebrew literature deals not with the Bible, but with the Talmud. Gaon Ẓemaḥ b. Paltoi of Pumbedita (last quarter of the ninth century) wrote a lexicon for the Babylonian Talmud, of which, however, only small fragments have been preserved in quotations (see Kohut, "Aruch Completum," Introduction, pp. et seq.). Perhaps Ẓemaḥ himself designated his work by the name 'see 'ARUK (), which word (derived from the verb , Job 32:14) is the earliest term in Jewish literature for a lexicon, though it gained currency only through Nathan b. Jehiel's work (see below) of that title. The first known Hebrew lexicon is called "Agron" (, pronounced also "Igron"), meaning "a collection of words," from , "to collect." It is a youthful work of Saadia, gaon of Sura, and was written in 913. It was intended, as Saadia says in the introduction (still extant), not only to promote the knowledge of the pure Biblical language, but also as an aid to writing poetry. Hence Saadia's "Agron" was a double lexicon, arranged, as were most of the original Arabic lexicons, according to the alphabetical sequence of the first and final letters of the roots and words, corresponding to the two formal requirements of the Hebrew versification of that time, acrostic and rime. Saadia, who originally had supplemented each word by only a Biblical passage in which it occurred, made a second, enlarged edition of the "Agron," in which he gave the Arabic equivalents for the words, besides also chapters in Arabic on various subjects useful for poets. He also changed the name of the work to "Book of Poetry," or "Book on the Principles of Poetry" (for the extant fragments see Harkavy, "Studien und Mittheilungen," ). A smaller but likewise epoch-making work of Saadia's was his explanation, from the language of the Mishnah and Talmud, of 70 (or rather 90) words occurring seldom or only once in the Bible. This has been edited many times.

Judah ibn Ḳoraish.

Saadia's elder contemporary, Judah ibn Ḳoraish of Tahart, North Africa, composed a larger work along the lines of Saadia's small list of Biblical words. This work, which is still extant, was written in the form of a letter ("risalah") to the community of Fas (Fez), and has three chief divisions in lexical arrangement, containing comparisons of Hebrew words with (1) New-Hebrew words of the Mishnah, (2) Aramaic words, and (3) Arabic Words. This is the first work on Semitic comparative linguistics, and it has held a permanent place in Hebrew philology (ed. Bargès and Goldberg, Paris, 1857). The third part, containing comparisons of Hebrew and Arabic words, was known separately as "Sefer ha-Yaḥas," or "Sefer Ab wa-Em," according to the initial words (Ibn Ezra, Introduction to his "M'oznayim"; Ibn Ezra's contemporary, Isaac b. Samuel, quotes "Agron Ab wa-Em"; see "Jew. Quart. Rev." 10:729). Ibn Ḳoraish also began a larger lexicon, which, however, was not carried beyond the roots beginning with alef (see Bacher, "Die Anfänge der Hebräischen Grammatik," p. 69; "Jew. Quart. Rev." c.). This work, which Menahem b. Saruḳ quotes as "Sefer Pitronim" (Book of Explanations),was, like Saadia's "Agron," doubtless written in Arabic, as was the "risalah."

David ben Abraham.

What Ibn Ḳoraish's lexicon would have been may be seen from that of David b. Abraham (tenth century), which has been preserved in an almost complete state. The latter author, called also Abu Sulaiman of Fas (Fez), belonged to the Karaite sect, and was probably stimulated by Ibn Ḳoraish's writings to undertake his own work, which, also, contained many Hebrew-Arabic comparisons. Like Saadia, the only author to whom he refers by name, David b. Abraham calls his lexicon (written in Arabic) "Agron," which he renders in Arabic by "Jami' al-Alfaẓ" (Collector of Words). Through him the Karaites came to prefer the word "agron" as a term for "lexicon." An author belonging to that sect, writing in Arabic in the beginning of the eleventh century, calls David b. Abraham's work "the chief representative of the Agron literature" (see "Rev. Etudes Juives," 30:252); and Judah Ẓadassi (twelfth century) mentions the "Agronot" or "Sifre ha-Agron" ("Monatsschrift," 125). David b. Abraham also produced an abridgment of his lexicon, as did Levi b. Japheth later, whose work was made the basis of Ali b. Sulaiman's "Agron," written in the first half of the eleventh century (Pinsker, "Liḳḳuṭe Ḳadmoniyyot," 1:117,183; "Rev. Etudes Juives," 30:125). Extracts from David b. Abraham's work, which was the only original contribution of the Karaites to Hebrew lexicography, have been published by Pinsker (c. pp. 117-162, 206-216; see also Neubauer, "Notice sur la Lexicographie Hébraïque," pp. 25-155). After David b. Abraham, Abu al-Faraj Harun only is to be mentioned: he is none other than the anonymous grammarian of Jerusalem mentioned by Ibn Ezra in the introduction to the "M'oznayim." The seventh part of his "Al-Mushtamil," completed in 1026, is a kind of root-lexicon, in which the triconsonantal roots are so treated that all the roots formed by combinations of the same three letters are arranged in one group; for example, all roots containing the letters ע, פ, and ר—namely, —are treated under (see "Rev. Etudes Juives," 30:247 et seq., 33:20 et seq.). A similar arrangement was also adopted about the same time by the leading rabbinical authority of the East, the gaon Hai, in his lexicon "Kitab al-Ḥawi" (Hebr. "Sefer ha-Me'assef," or "Sefer ha-Kolel"), of which only quotations and fragments are extant (see "Z. D. M. G." 55:129 et seq., 597 et seq.).

Long before Hai Gaon's time (d. 1038) a lexicon had inaugurated in the West a period of literary activity that made Spain the real home of Hebrew philology. About 960 Menahem ben Saruḳ wrote his "Maḥberet" (name derived from Exodus 26:4), the first complete lexical treatment in the Hebrew language of the words in the Bible. In the arrangement of his lexicon Menahem rigidly adheres to the theory of roots current at that time. He includes roots of one and two letters, and adds a lengthy grammatical introduction together with longer and shorter excursus. On account of its Hebrew form this lexicon (ed. Filipowski, London, 1854) was for a long time the generally accepted lexical aid to Bible study in European countries where Arabic did not prevail; while in Spain itself it at first gave rise to lively polemics in the works of Dunash b. Labraṭ and of Menahem's and Dunasch's pupils. It was soon superseded, however, in the new era of Hebrew philology inaugurated by Menahem's pupil Judah b. David Ḥayyuj.

Abu al-Walid ibn Janaḥ.

Ḥayyuj (end of the tenth century) set forth his theory of roots and his fundamental view of verbal inflection in two works, in which the weak radicals and the radicals in which the second letter is doubled are grouped together in lexicographical order. The same arrangement obtains in the first work of Ḥayyuj's eminent successor, the "Kitab al-Mustalḥaḳ" (Hebr. "Sefer ha-Hassagah"), a critical supplement to Ḥayyuj's works by Abu al-Walid Merwan ibn Janaḥ. The chief work of Abu al-Walid (called R. Jonah in Hebrew; lived in the first half of the eleventh century) is divided into a grammar and a lexicon. The latter, entitled "Kitab al-Uṣul" ("Sefer ha-Shorashim"), is the high-water mark of the lexical activity of the Middle Ages, and is remarkable for the value of its contents as well as for the methodical arrangement of the material. Especially noteworthy are the comparative definitions of the words and the large number of Bible-exegetical details. This lexicon influenced directly or indirectly the entire later Hebrew lexicography: the Arabic original was edited by Neubauer (Oxford, 1875); and Bacher edited the Hebrew translation of Judah ibn Tibbon (Berlin, 1896).

Mention should be made here of the following works pertaining to the subject, and written in Arabic by Spanish Jews of the eleventh and twelfth centuries: Judah ibn Balaam's small treatises on the homonyms and particles; Abu Ibrahim ibn Barun's monograph "Kitab al-Muwazanah," on the relation of Hebrew to Arabic (edited, as far as extant, by Kokowzoff, St. Petersburg, 1894); "Kitab al-Kamil" (in Hebrew "Sefer ha-Shalem"), including a grammar and lexicon, by Jacob b. Eleazar of Toledo, known only through extracts.

The "'Aruk."

Outside the domain of Arabic culture the first great lexicon to traditional literature (Talmud, Midrash, and Targum) was contributed by Italy, the old seat of Talmudic scholarship. This work is the "'Aruk" of Nathan b. Jehiel of Rome, which was finished about 1100, and has remained up to the present time the most important lexical aid to Talmudic study. Nathan arranged the roots according to the early system followed by Menahem, and paid particular attention to rare expressions and borrowed words, following largely the Talmud exegesis handed down by the Geonim (first ed. in Italy before 1480; latest ed. by Kohut, 1878-92, 8 vols.). With the exception of Gaon Ẓemaḥ's "'Aruk," referred to above, the only work of this kind mentioned as preceding Nathan's is the "Alphabeton," a kind of glossary by Makir, the brother of Rabbenu Gershom (first half of the eleventh century; see Rapoport's biography of Nathan, note 12). Samuel b. Jacob Jam'a of North Africa made important additions to Nathan's "'Aruk" in the twelfth century ("Grätz Jubelschrift," Hebrew part, pp. 1-47).The glossaries by the geonim Sherira and Hai accompanying the texts of certain Talmudic treatises do not come within the scope of this article (see Bacher, "Leben und Werke des Abulwalid," pp. 84 et seq.).

Menahem ben Solomon.

Half a century after Nathan b. Jehiel, Menahem b. Solomon, also of Rome, wrote a lexicon with the evident intention of upholding Ibn Saruḳ's reputation in the face of the system founded by the Spanish school, and at that time (1143) propagated in Italy by Abraham ibn Ezra. Menahem b. Solomon's lexicon is the chief part of his manual of Bible study, "Eben Boḥan" (Touchstone; see Bacher in "Grätz Jubelschrift," pp. 104-115). While this lexicon had little influence, that of Solomon ibn Parḥon, "Maḥberet he'Aruk" (ed. S. G. Stern, Presburg, 1844), written somewhat later (1160) at Salerno, achieved a wide reputation. This work was in the main an enlarged extract from Abu al-Walid's lexicon, of which it has erroneously been regarded as a translation (see Bacher in Stade's "Zeitschrift," 10:120-150, 11:35-99). Two other lexicons from two countries that otherwise have contributed little or nothing to the literature of Hebrew philology must also be mentioned. The first of these works, both of which drew upon Ibn Parḥon's lexicon, is the "Sefer ha-Shoham" (Onyx Book), written by Moses b. Isaac of London (end of the twelfth century), the beginning of which was edited by Collins, London, 1882. The author has been identified as the well-known punctator Moses ha-Naḳdan. The second work is the lexicon of the German Shimshon, who often defines the words also in German (see Geiger's "Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol." 5:419-430).

The Ḳimḥis.

Southern France began to take the lead in Jewish literature in the second half of the twelfth century. About 1150 Joseph Ḳimḥi of Narbonne wrote the "Sefer ha-Galui" (Book of the Revelation; edited by Mathews, Berlin, 1887), containing chiefly lexical matter and a criticism of Menahem's lexicon. His son, David Ḳimḥi (1160-1235), wrote the "Miklol," which contained a grammar and a lexicon supplementary to Abu al-Walid's chief work, but revealed, especially in its method, a remarkable independence. The lexicon, "Sefer ha-Shorashim" (printed before the grammar, in Italy prior to 1480; also Naples, 1490, 1491; Constantinople, 1513; Venice, 1529; new ed., Berlin, 1847), is much superior to Abu al-Walid's lexicon, and was for centuries the standard work of Hebrew lexicography. In the latter half of the thirteenth century Abraham Bedersi of Bezières wrote the first book of Hebrew synonymy, "Ḥotem Toknit." (see Ezekiel 28:12), a large and valuable work, arranged in alphabetical order (edited by G. E. Polak, Amsterdam, 1865). In the first third of the fourteenth century the many-sided Joseph ibn Kaspi also wrote a lexicon, "Shorshot Kesef" (see Exodus 28:22), in which he endeavored to deduce the secondary meanings from the general primary meaning of the root (see "Orient, Lit." ,; Neubauer, "Notice sur la Lexicogr. Hébraïque," pp. 208-211). "Menorat ha-Ma'or," the work of a Greek Jew, Joseph b. David ha-Yewani, of which only a fragment is extant in a single manuscript, dates from about the same time (see Neubauer, c. p. 207). The first Hebrew concordance, also a kind of lexicon (CONCORDANCE), was produced in the first half of the fifteenth century by a Jew of southern France.

In Italy, Spain, and the East.

In Italy, where the scientific spirit among the Jews was especially active in the fifteenth century, Solomon b. Abraham of Urbino wrote (1480) a book of synonyms entitled "Ohel Mo'ed," Venice, 1548 (edited by Willheimer, Vienna, 1881), entirely different in character from Abraham Bedersi's work. In Spain, just before the expulsion of 1492, a Hebrew lexicon was written in Arabic by the learned rabbi of Granada, Saadia b. Maimun ibn Danan ("Rev. Et. Juives," 41:268).

In the East the study of Maimonides' epoch-making work in the second half of the thirteenth century resulted in Tanḥum b. Joseph Yerushalmi's lexicon, "Al-Murshid al-Kafi" (The Sufficient Guide), written in Arabic. This work deals especially with Maimonides' "Mishneh Torah," but includes also some of the words of the Mishnah. A lexicon by Solomon b. Samuel of Gurganj (Urgenj, central Asia), completed in 1339, is a remarkable example of intellectual activity and wide literary knowledge from a region which is not otherwise mentioned in the history of Jewish literature. It presents in uniform alphabetical arrangement the vocabulary of the Bible, the Targum, the Talmudic-Midrashic literature, and some later works, in about 18,000 articles, most of which are very short. The author called his work "Sefer ha-Meliẓah," and sometimes "Agron" (see Bacher, "Ein Hebräisch-Persisches Wörterbuch aus dem 14. Jahrhundert," Strasburg, 1900). A century later Moses Shirwani of northern Persia completed (1459) a Hebrew-Persian lexicon which he called "Agron" (see Bacher in Stade's "Zeitschrift," 16:201-247). This is a popular aid to Bible study, as is also the "Maḳre Dardeḳe," a Hebrew-Arabic-Romanic (Italian, French, Provencal) glossary to the Bible which was produced about the same time in western Europe (printed at Naples about 1488).

Elijah Levita.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century a great and decisive change occurred in the history of Hebrew philology. From that time this science, hitherto cultivated exclusively by the Jews, took rank in the large circle of scientific activities inaugurated by the new humanism; and it soon became a mighty factor in the religious movement that revolutionized Germany. Protestantism, going back directly to the Bible, took up the study of the Hebrew language, which henceforth became an integral part of Protestant theology. But in Judaism itself the period beginning with this century was one of intellectual stagnation. The old classical literature of the preceding periods was more and more forgotten, and the one sided study of the Talmud gradually displaced the study of the Bible and its language, rendering the literary productions in this field utterly unimportant. The beginning of this epoch of decadence was marked, however, by Elijah Levita's activity, with which the creative period of Hebrewphilological literature within Judaism was worthily closed. His works include: "Sefer Zikronot," a Masoretic lexicon or, rather, a Masoretic concordance to the Bible, still in manuscript; "Tishbi," a small lexicon of 712 articles (published in 1541 et seq.), containing mostly New-Hebrew words; and "Meturgeman," the first lexicon to the Targumim (1541). Abraham de Balmes did not finish the lexicon of roots to which he refers several times in his grammar.

The paucity of production in the field of lexicography during the three centuries of Jewish literature from 1500 to 1800 may be seen in the following chronological lists of works issued during this period, which are short and served chiefly practical purposes. These, as well as the following lists, have been made with the help of Steinschneider's "Bibliographisches Handbuch" (compare the corrections and additions by Steinschneider and Porges in "Centralblatt für Bibliothekswesen," , ):

The following lexicographic works to the Talmud must be added:

During the same period (1500-1800) the need of lexical aids felt by Christians studying Hebrew called forth a large number of lexicons, the list of which is as follows:

Christian Lexicographers.

  1. Alfonsus Zamorensis (ex-Judæus), "Vocabularium Hebr. et Chald. V. T." (in vol. of Complutensian Polyglot, 1515).
  2. Theodoricus Martinus (Dirck Martens), "Dictionarium Hebraicum," Louvain, c. 1520. Sebastian Münster, "Dictionarium Hebraicum," Basel, 1523, 1525, 1535, 1539, 1548, 1564.
  3. Sanctus (Xantes) Pagninus, "Thesaurus Linguæ Sanctæ," Leyden, 1529; ed. Rob. Stephanus, Paris, 1548; Leyden, 1575, 1577; Geneva, 1614.
  4. Sebastian Münster, "Dictionarium Trilingue" (Latin, Greek, Hebrew), Basel, 1530, 1535, 1543, 1562.
  5. Ant. Reuchlin, "Lexicon Hebr. Linguæ," Basel, 1556, 1569.
  6. Jo. Förster (Forster, Vorstheimer), "Dictionarium Hebr. Novum," Basel, 1557, 1564.
  7. Jo. Avenarius (Habermann), "Liber Radicum, seu Lexicon Hebr." Wittenberg, 1568, 1589.
  8. Sanctus Pagninus, "Epitome Thesauri Linguæ Sacræ," Antwerp, 1570, 1572, 1578, 1588, 1599, 1609, 1616, 1670.
  9. Ambrosius Calepinus, "Dictionarium Septem Linguarum," Geneva, 1578; Basel, 1584; "Dict. Undecim Lingu." Basel, 1590, 1598, 1605, 1616.
  10. El. Hutter, "Cubus Alphabeticus Sanctæ Hebraicæ Linguæ," Hamburg, 1586, 1588, 1603.
  11. Marcus Marinus, "Area Noe, sive Thesaurus Linguæ Sanctæ Novus," Venice, 1593.
  12. Johann Buxtorf the Elder, "Lexicon Hebr.-Chald." Basel, 1607, 1615, 1621, 1631, 1645, 1646, 1654, 1655, 1663, 1667, 1676, 1689, 1698, 1710, 1735; "Manuale Hebr.-Chald." Basel, 1612, 1619, 1630, 1631, 1634, 1658.
  13. Valentine Schindler, "Lexicon Pentaglotton, Hebr., Chald., Syr., Talmudico-Rabbin., et Arab." Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1612, 1649, 1653, 1695.
  14. Jos. Abudacnus (Barbatus), "Lexicon Hebr." Louvain, 1615.
  15. Marius de Calasius, "Dictionarium Hebr." Rome, 1617.
  16. Joh. Meelführer, "Manuale Lexici Hebr." Leipsic, 1617, 1657.
  17. Chr. Helvicus, "Lexicon Hebr. Didacticum," Glessen, 1620.
  18. Sixtus ab Amama, Hebrew lexicon (Dutch), Franeker, 1628.
  19. Daniel Schwenterus, "Manipulus Linguæ Sanctæ, sive Lex. Hebr. ad Formam Cubi Hutteriani," Nuremberg, 1628, 1638; Leipsic, 1668.
  20. Philip Aquinas (ex-Jud.), "Dictionarium Absolutissimum Hebr., Chald., et Talm.-Rabbin." Paris, 1629.
  21. Gregorius Francus (Franke), "Lexicon Sacrum," Hanover, 1634.
  22. William Alabaster, "Spiraculum Tubarum . . . seu Schindleri Lexicon Pentaglottum in Compend. Redact." London, 1635.
  23. Edward Leigh, "Critica Sacra," in two parts: () observations on all the radical or primitive Hebrew words in the O. T. in alphabetical order, London, 1639, 1650, 1662; Latin, Amsterdam, 1678, 1688, 1696, 1706; French, ib. 1712.
  24. Jo. Plantavitius, "Thesaurus Synonymicus Hebr.-Chald.-Rabbin." Lodève, 1644-45.
  25. Sebastian Curtius, "Radices Linguæ S. Hebr." Geismar, 1645, 1648, 1649; Amsterdam, 1652.
  26. William Robertson, "The Second Gate. . . a Compendious Hebr. Lexicon or Dictionary," London, 1654.
  27. Hottinger, "Etymologicum Orientale, s. Lexicon Harmonicum Heptaglotton," Frankfort, 1661 (also "Talmud.-Rabbin.").
  28. Leusden, "Onomasticum Sacrum," Leyden, 1665, 1684; "Manuale Hebr.-Lat.-Belgicum," Utrecht, 1667, 1683.
  29. Sebastian Curtius, "Manuale Hebr.-Chald.-Lat.-Belgicum," Frankfort, 1668.
  30. Edw. Castellus, "Lexicon Heptaglottum," London, 1669, 1686; from this, "Lexicon Hebraicum," adnot. J. D. Michaelis, Göttingen, 1790.
  31. Joh. Coccejus, "Lexicon et Commentarius Sermonis Hebr. et Chald. V. T." Amsterdam, 1669; Frankfort, 1689, 1714; Leipsic, 1777, 1793-96.
  32. Friedr. Nicolai, "Hodegeticum Orientale," part : "Lexicon Hebr." etc., Jena, 1670; Frankfort, 1686.
  33. Ant. Halsius, "Compendium Lexici Hebraici," 3d ed., Utrecht, 1674, 1679, 1683.
  34. William Robertson, "Thesaurus Linguæ Sacræ Compend. . . . s. Concordant. Lexicon Hebr.-Latino-Biblicum," London, 1680.
  35. Matthew Hillerus, "Lexicon Latino-Hebr." Tübingen, 1685.
  36. Jo. Leusden, "Lexicon Novum Hebr.-Latinum," Utrecht, 1687.
  37. Jo. Michaelis, "Lexicon Particularum Hebr." Frankfort, 1689.
  38. Henr. Opitius, "Novum Lexicon Hebr.-Chald.-Biblicum," Leipsic, 1692; Hamburg, 1705, 1714, 1724.
  39. Ge. Christ. Burcklinus, "Lexicon Hebr.-Macaronicum," Frankfort, 1699; in compend. redact. 1743.
  40. Paul Math. Alberti, "Porta Linguæ Sanctæ, seu Lex. Novum Hebr.-Lat.-Biblicum," Bautzen, 1704.
  41. Christ. Reineccius, "Janua Hebr. Linguæ V. T." (since the 2d ed. with lexicon), Leipsic, 1704, 1707, 1720, 1733, 1741, 1748, 1756, 1769, 1788.
  42. Christ. Gottlieb Meinigius, "Lexicon Hebr. in Compend. Redact." ib. 1712.
  43. Joh. Heeser, "Lapis Adjutorius, s. Lexicon Philolog. Hebr.-Chald.-Sacrum," part (), Harderov, 1716.
  44. Ge. Burchard Rümelinus, "Lexicon Biblicum," Frankfort, 1716.
  45. Lud. Christoph. Schaefer, "Hebr. Wörterbuch," Bernburg, 1720.
  46. Charl. Franc. Houbigantius, "Racines Hébr. . . . ou Diction. Hebr. par Racines," Paris, 1732.
  47. Ant. Zanolini, "Lexicon Hebraicum," Padua, 1732.
  48. Nicol. Burger, "Lexicon Hebr.-Chald.-Lat." Copenhagen, 1733.
  49. Jo. Bougetius, "Lexicon Hebr. et Chald." Rome, 1737.
  50. Jo. Simonis, "Onomasticon V. T." Halle, 1741.
  51. Fr. Haselbauer, "Lexicon Hebr.-Chald." Prague, 1743.
  52. Jo. Christ. Clodius, "Lexicon Hebr. Selectum," Leipsic, 1744.
  53. Jo. Christ. Klemm, "Lex. Hebr.-Germ.-Lat." Tübingen, 1745.
  54. Petr. Guaria, "Lexicon Hebr. et Chald. Biblicum," Paris, 1746.
  55. Weitenauer, "Hierolexicon Linguæ Hebr., Chald. et Syr." Augsburg, 1750, 1753.
  56. Jo. Simonis, "Dictionarium V. T. Hebr.-Chald." Halle, 1752, 1766; "Lexicon Manuale Hebr. et Chald." ib. 1756; Amsterdam, 1757; Leyden, 1763; Halle, 1771; (ed. I. G. Eichhorn) 1793; (enlarged by F. S. Winer) Leipsic, 1828; English by Charles Seager, London, 1832.
  57. . . ., "Lexicon Hebr.-Chald.-Latino-Biblicum," Avignon, 1758, 1765; Leyden, 1770.
  58. Anonymous, "Neu Eingerichtetes Deutsch-Hebr. Wörterbuch," Oettingen, 1764.
  59. John Parkhurst, "An Hebrew and English Lexicon," London, 1762, 1778, 1792, 1811, 1823.
  60. Jos. Montaldi, "Lex. Hebr. et Chald.-Biblic." Rome, 1789.
  61. Fr. Hetzel, "Kritisches Wörterbuch der Hebr. Sprache," vol. , sec. 1, Halle, 1793.
  62. Ph. N. Moser, "Lexicon Manuale Hebr. et Chald." Ulm, 1795.
  63. Jo. Chr. Fried. Schulz, "Hebr.-Deutsches Wörterbuch über das A. T."

To this list must be added the following lexicons on the language of the Talmud, written by Christians:

The Most Popular Dictionaries.

Among the seventy or more lexicons above enumerated that were called forth by the study of Hebrew among the Christian theologians down to the end of the eighteenth century, the following may be noted for the number of editions through which they have passed: the works of Sebastian Münster, S. Pagninus, Buxtorf, Coccejus, Reineccius, Simonis. Most of the lexicons deal also with the Aramaic portions of the Bible, the designation "Chaldaic" for this language having become current since Sebastian Münster's time, though even Dunash ibn Labraṭ calls the Aramaic in his polemic against Saadia, No. 6. The comparison of Hebrew with its kindred languages, already indicated by William Postellus in the first half of the sixteenth century, and by Guichard, "L'Harmonie Etymologique des Langues Hébr.," etc., Paris, 1660, was first carried out lexically by Schindler, then by Hottinger, and more completely and on a more solid basis by Castelli. But it remained for Albert Schultens (died 1750), an eminent member of the distinguished Dutch school, to place the comparison of Hebrew with the Arabic on a more solid scientific foundation, the achievements of the Jewish philologists of the preceding centuries having been forgotten. Schultens himself compiled no dictionary; but his contributions to Hebrew lexicography are found in many treatises and commentaries. Attempts to translate the Hebrew into the vernacular instead of into Latin were first made in Dutch, then in English, Flemish, German, and French.


The rapid development of philology in all its branches during the first decades of the nineteenth century also extended to Hebrew, which gradually occupied a position independent of theology. The labors of Wilhelm Gesenius marked a new epoch in grammar and lexicography. His lexicon, in the enlarged and modified later editions, has remained down to the present day the lexical manual most in demand for the study of the Bible—a proof of its excellence that was apparent even in the earlier editions. In its first form (Leipsic, 1810, 1812) it bore the title "Hebr.-Deutsches Handwörterbuch über die Schriften des A. T." This book became the basis for the large "Thesaurus Philolog.-Criticus," 1829-42, the last fasciculi of which were completed after Gesenius' death (in 1842) by Rödiger, 1853-1858. An abbreviated edition of the "Handwörterbuch" was issued under the title "Neues Hebr.-Deutsches Handwörterbuch," 1815; and this became the basis for the later editions, which, beginning with the second thoroughly revised edition (1823), bore the title "Hebr. und Chaldäisches Wörterbuch." Gesenius himself issued the third and fourth editions, 1828, 1834. The editors of the later editions were: Dietrich, 1857, 1863, 1868; Mühlau and Volck, 1883, 1886, 1890; F. Buhl, 1895, 1899. Gesenius also issued the third edition in Latin, under the title "Lexicon Manuale," Leipsic, 1832-33. An English translation of the first "Handwörterbuch" of 1810 was issued by Christ. Leo, Cambridge, 1825-28; the new "Handwörterbuch" of 1815 was issued in English by J. W. Gibbs, Andover, 1824; other editions, London, 1827, 1832; the "Lexicon Manuale" was translated into English by Edw. Robinson, Boston, 1836 (last ed., 1854); and by Tregellas, 1859. This is the basis of the Oxford lexicon, appearing since 1892 under the title of "A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament," edited by Francis Brown, with the cooperation of S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs. The Αεζικον Εβρ. τες Παλαιας Διαδηκης, Malta, 1842, is also based on Gesenius' work, of which a Swedish translation appeared at Upsala in 1829-32.

Other lexicons appeared in the course of the nineteenth century, of which the following is a list, Steinschneider's "Handbuch" furnishing the material down to 1859:

  1. Th. Imm. Dindorf, "Novum Lex. Linguæ Hebr. et Chald." Leipsic, 1801, 1804.
  2. Samuel Pike, "A Comparative Hebrew Lex." Glasgow, 1802.
  3. Evr. Scheidius, "Lex. Hebr. et Chald. Man." Utrecht, 1805, 1810.
  4. Aug. Fried. Pfeiffer, "Man. Bibl. Hebr. et Chald." Erlangen, 1809.
  5. Chr. Gottlieb Elwert, "Deutsch-Hebr. Wörterbuch," Reutlingen, 1822.
  6. F. C. Rosenmüller, "Vocabularium V. T. Hebr. et Chald." Halle, 1822, 1827.
  7. James Andrew, "Hebrew Dict. and Grammar," London, 1823.
  8. Jo. Fried. Schroeder, "Deutsch-Hebr. Wörterb." Leipsic, 1823.
  9. Franc. Fontanella, "Vocabulario Ebreo-Ital. et Ital.-Ebreo," Venice, 1824.
  10. L'Abbé Giraud, "Vocabulaire Hébr.-Français," Wilna, 1825.
  11. B. Glaire, "Lex. Manuale Hebr. et Chald." Paris, 1830, 1843.
  12. Joh. Ev. Stadler, "Lex. Manuale Hebr.-Latin," Munich, 1831.
  13. Em. Fried. Leopold, "Lex. Hebr. et Chald." Leipsic, 1832.
  14. H. L. Biesenthal, "Hebr. und Chald. Schulwörterbuch," Berlin, 1835-47.
  15. L. Roy, "A Complete Hebrew and English Dictionary," New York, 1838.
  16. Samuel Lee, "A Lex. Hebr., Chald., and English," London, 1840, 1844.
  17. William Wallace Duncan, "A New Hebrew-English and English-Hebrew Lex." ib. 1841.
  18. Ernst Meier, "Hebr. Wurzelwörterbuch," Mannheim, 1845.
  19. Fr. Nork, "Vollständiges Hebr.-Chald.-Rabbinisches Wörterbuch," Grimma, 1842.
  20. Fred. Bialloblotzky, "Lexicon Radicum Hebr." London, 1843.
  21. William Osborn, "A New Hebrew-English Lexicon," ib. 1845.
  22. Davidson, "The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon," ib. 1848.
  23. Fr. J. V. D. Maurer, "Kurzgefasstes Hebr. und Chald. Handwörterbuch," Stuttgart, 1851.
  24. Stier, "Hebräisches Vocabularium," Leipsic, 1857, 1859.
  25. Benj. Davies, "Hebrew Lexicon," 2d ed., London, 1876.

A new arrangement of lexical matter is found in Carl Siegfried and B. Stade's "Hebräisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament," Leipsic, 1893, in which the comparison of the kindred languages is excluded, the etymology made secondary, and the introduction of so-called primary meanings avoided, while the vocabulary and idioms are given as completely as possible. Friedrich Delitzsch advocates the free use of Assyrian in his work, "Prolegomena eines Neuen Hebr.-Aram. Wörterbuches zum A. T." Leipsic, 1886 (see Nöldeke's exhaustive discussion in "Z. D. M. G." 718-743).

Jewish Lexicographers of the Nineteenth Century.

The new stimulus given to the study of the Bible among the European Jews by Moses Mendelssohn and his followers was evident also in the demands for lexical aids to that study. The Hebrew lexicons written by Jews in the last decades of the eighteenth century have already been mentioned. J. Ben-Ze'eb's "Oẓar ha-Shorashim" (Treasury of Roots), Vienna, 1807, was very popular down to the second half of the century, and did good work in purifying the language in eastern Europe. The second edition appeared in 1816; the third, edited by Letteris, in 1839-1844; the fourth, in 1862-64. Jewish learning, which was developed to an unexpected degree by the generation of Jewish scholars following Mendelssohn's school, brought to light especially the works of classical scholars dealing with Hebrew philology and Bible exegesis, advancing thereby also modern Hebrew philology. The Hebrew lexicons of the past, edited or printed for the first time, have been mentioned above. Julius Fürst was most active as lexicographer, publishing a new edition of the Bible concordance. In 1842 he issued a Hebrew-Chaldee school lexicon; and in 1869 a Hebrew pocket-dictionary to the Old Testament. His "Hebräisch und Chaldäisches Handwörterbuch über das A. T." Leipsic, 1857-61 (2d ed., 1863; 3d ed., by Ryssel, 1876), "marked a great advance, evincing an assiduous and scholarly use of the many products of Old Testament exegesis" (Diestel). The work was translated into English by Davidson, the fifth edition appearing in 1885.

Following is a list of other Hebrew lexicons to the Bible which were written by Jews:

  1. Hananiah Coen, , "Vocabulario Compendioso Ebraico-Italiano," Reggio, 1811-12.
  2. Heinemann, , "Vocabulary Hebrew and English," London, 1823.
  3. Van Embden, "Prospectus eines Hebr.-Deutschen und Deutsch-Hebr. Wörterbuches," Hamburg, 1823.
  4. Judah Laz. Kron, , "Hebr.-Deutsches Wörterbuch," Wilna, 1826.
  5. Luzzatto, "Dizionario Compendiato Ebraico-Chald., Latino et Italiano," part , Florence, 1827.
  6. Marchand d'Ennery, "Hebr.-Franz. Wörterbuch," 1827.
  7. Jos. Hirschfeld, , "Neues Synonymisches Handwörterbuch zur Beförderung der Hebräischen Sprache," Frankfort-on-the-Oder, 1818, 1830.
  8. Moses Lemans and Y. J. Mulder, "Hebr.-Nederduitsch Handwoordenboek," Amsterdam, 1829-31.
  9. Abraham Buchner, , grammar and lex., Warsaw, 1830.
  10. I. Benlevi, , "Tabellarisches Hebr.-Deutsches Wörterbuch," Hanover, 1833.
  11. Selig Newmann, "Hebrew and English Lexicon," London, 1834; "English and Hebrew Lexicon," ib. 1832.
  12. Michael Josephs, , "An English and Hebrew Lexicon," ib. 1834.
  13. Simḥa b. Ephraim, , "Hebr. Lx. nach Neuer Methode," part , Warsaw, 1839.
  14. Joseph Johlsohn, , "Biblisch-Hebr. Wörterbuch," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1840.
  15. Isaac Nordheimer, "A Complete Hebrew and Chaldean Concordance to the O. T." part , New York, 1842.
  16. E. Heigmans, , "Hebr. en Nederduitsch Woordenboekje," Amsterdam, 1845.
  17. Abigail Lindo, "A Hebrew-English and English-Hebrew Dictionary," London, 1846.
  18. Emanuel Recanati, "Dizionario Ebr.-Chald. ed. Italiano," Verona, 1854-56.
  19. G. Schauffler, , "Diccionario della Lengua Santa" (Ladino), Constantinople, 1855.
  20. Luzzatto, , "Vocabulario Italiano Hebr." Verona, 1856.
  21. Bardach, , Letteris, Vienna, 1868.
  22. David Cassel, "Hebr.-Deutsches Wörterbuch," Berlin, 1871, 1885, 1886, 1889, 1898.
  23. E. Stern, , Vienna, 1871.
  24. Ch. Pollak, "Héber-Magyar Teljes Szótár," Budapest, 1881.
  25. Steinberg, , "Hebr.-Deutsch-Russisches Wörterbuch," Wilna, 1897.

Jewish Dictionaries of Talmud.

Jewish learning of the nineteenth century has produced important works in the field of Talmudic lexicography, the most important of which are Jacob Levy's "Neuhebräisches und Chaldäisches Wörterbuch über die Talmudim und Midraschim," with additions by H. L. Fleischer, Leipsic, 1876-89; and his "Chaldäisches Wörterbuch über die Targumim," ib. 1886. M. Jastrow's work, "Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature," London and New York, 1886 et seq., the concluding portion of which will shortly appear, is also of independent value. Alexander Kohut's edition of the 'Aruk, mentioned above, assumed the shape of an independent lexicon by reason of its size and wealth of material. J. M. Landau's edition of the 'Aruk, Prague, 1819-24, also containing many additions, was used for a long time. The foreign words, more especially of the Talmud, are explained in S. and M. Bondi's , Dessau, 1812; in J. B. Schönhak's "Ha-Mashbir," Warsaw, 1858; by A. Brüll in "Fremdsprachliche Redensarten in Talm. und Midr.," Leipsic, 1869; and in J. Fürst's "Glossarium Græco-Hebraicum, oder der Griechische Wörterschatz der Jüdischen Midraschwerke," Strasburg,1890. An important supplement to the Talmudic lexicons, including the whole material, is S. Krauss's "Griechische und Lateinische Lehnwörter im Talmud, Midrasch, und Targum," with notes by Immanuel Löw, Berlin, 1898, 1899. Among other works on Talmudic lexicography, the following may be mentioned on account of their lexical form:

  1. Isaiah Berlin, , glossary to the 'Aruk: , Breslau, 1830; , Vienna, 1859.
  2. Lattes, additions to Levy's lexicon, Milan, 1878, 1881; "Miscellanea Postuma," 1884, 1885.
  3. H. Dessauer, , short lexicons to the Talmud, Erlangen, 1839.
  4. E. Stern, , Vienna, 1863.
  5. H. Dalman, , "Aram.-Neuhebr. Wörterbuch zu Targum, Talmud, und Midrasch," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1897, 1901, a very useful work.

No special lexical treatment of the Neo-Hebrew of the Midrashim has yet been undertaken, though a beginning is found in Hananiah Coen's , Reggio, 1822, and Geiger's glossary to his "Lehrund Lesebuch der Sprache der Mischna," Breslau, 1845. Mention should also be made of the work of the non-Jewish scholar A. Th. Hartmann, "Thesaurus Linguæ Hebr. e Mischna Augendus," Rostock, 1825, 1826. David Löwy's lexicon, , Prague, 1845, 1847, containing Hebrew words and idioms found in the Talmud, is carried only as far as the root . W. Bacher's "Die Aelteste Terminologie der Jüdischen Schriftauslegung. Ein Wörterbuch der Bibelexegetischen Kunstsprache der Tannaiten," Leipsic, 1899, is confined to one special field.

There is as yet no lexicon of the later form of Hebrew in post-Talmudic times, when the vocabulary was strongly influenced and enriched by the various sciences treated in the Hebrew language and by the translations from the Arabic. Jac. Goldenthal issued his "Grundzüge und Beiträge zu Einem Sprachvergleichenden Rabbinisch-Philologischen Wörterbuch," in the "Abhandlungen der Kais. Akademie der Wissenschaften," Vienna, 1849. Zunz, who included very instructive lists of words in his works on synagogal poetry, expressed in 1856 a "wish for a lexicon of the Hebrew language" (in "Z. D. M. G." 10:501-512; "Gesammelte Schriften," 3:14-30); but this wish has not yet been fulfilled. See also Steinschneider, "Fremdsprachliche Elemente im Neuhebräischen," Prague, 1845.

Modern Hebrew.

In the last few decades the vocabulary of the Hebrew language, which is used in Russia and Poland as a literary language, and in certain regions of Palestine and the East as vernacular, has been materially increased, in many cases at the sacrifice of the models set by Biblical purity and historic tradition. This is due to the fact that it is used in journals and scientific works, so that modern objects and ideas must be expressed in the ancient language. The unscientific arbitrariness thus arising would be checked by a dictionary including the different phases of the development of the Hebrew language, in which the Hebrew of the Bible, of the Mishnah, of the medieval scientific and poetic literature, and, finally, the modern revived Hebrew should each be treated, and those words definitely adopted and standing the test of scientific investigation be lexically determined. The publication of two such lexicons has recently been undertaken, partly with scientific ends in view, partly to answer the practical needs of those writing in Hebrew; namely, S. I. Fuenn's "Ha-Oẓar," Warsaw (as far as the letter ח), and Ben Judah's "Ha-Millon," Jerusalem (only two fasciculi so far).

W. B.
Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Dictionaries, Hebrew'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tje/​d/dictionaries-hebrew.html. 1901.
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