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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Nagdilah, Samuel Ben-Joseph, ha-Levt

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surnamed Hannagid (the prince or chief), a Jewish writer, was born at Cordova in 993. He was a pupil of Chajug (q.v.), and a contemporary of Ibn-Ganach (q.v.). When in 1015 rabbi Chanoch, under whose instruction he acquired extensive Talmudical learning, died, R. Samuel succeeded to the chief rabbinate of Spain, with the title of prince (Nagid). Owing, however, to the intestine wars between the rival Moorish chiefs for supremacy, many inhabitants quitted Cordova, among whom was also Samuel ha-Levi, who went to Malaga, where he kept a druggist's shop. His profound knowledge of Arabian literature and his beautiful writing brought him to the notice of Alkas ben-Alarif, prime minister of Habus ibn-Moskan of Granada, who made him his secretary, and on his death-bed recommended his sovereign to be guided by him. In 1020 he was himself made prime minister, and in 1027 secured the crown to Badis, the eldest son of the deceased king, although the grandees had sought to place Balkin, the younger son, on the throne of his father.

Nagdilah zealously cultivated poetry and science, in which he himself excelled, and to the encouragement of which he devoted a large portion of his wealth. He collected and purchased many copies of the Talmud, Mishna, and other books, which, to disseminate learning, he distributed gratuitously, and he was the indefatigable patron both of Spanish and foreign authors. Besides a treatise which he wrote against Ibn-Ganach in defence of his teacher Chajug, entitled הִשָּׂגִת הִהִשָּׂגָה, he is best known as the author of a good treatise on the methodology of the Talmud, of which a condensed German translation is given by Pinner in his introduction to the treatise Berakooth; he also wrote the Son of Proverbs, בֶּןאּמַשְׁלֵי (or parables), consisting of poems which are represented as profound and magnificent, and of which some pieces are given by Dukes in his Rabbinische Blumenlese. He is also said to have written a commentary on the Pentateuch (פֵּ עִל הִתּוֹרָה ), of which that on the Book of Numbers alone is preserved in MSS. (Podleian Libr. No. 152); and according to Ibn-Ezra (Yesod Mora, init.; Moznaim, pref.) he wrote also a grammatical work consisting of twenty-two books, entitled סֵפֶר הָעשֶׁר which Aben-Ezra praises above all similar efforts that had preceded it, but which is also lost. Nagdilah died in 1055.

See Furst, Bibl. Jud. 3:14 sq.; De Rossi, Dizionario storico degli Autori Ebrei (Germ. transl.), page 240 sq.; Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 6:18 sq.; Jost, Gesch. d. Judenth. u.s. Sekten, 2:406; Dessauer, Gesch. d. Israeliten (Breslau, 1870), page 289; Braunschweiger, Gesch. d. Juden in d. Roman. Staaten, page 34 sq.: Lindo, Hist. of the Jews in Spain, page 49 sq.; Finn, Sephardim, p. 174; Da Costa, Israel and the Gentiles, page 252; Etheridge, Introd. to Hebr. Literature, pages 105, 247; Margoliouth, Modern Judaism Investigated (Lond. 1843), page 243; Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, page 136; Dukes, Rabbinische Blumenlese (Leips. 1844), pages 55, 58, 219, and his R. Sam. ha-Nagid u.s. Werke, in נִח ל קְרוּמַים (Hanover, 1853), 2:1-40; Delitzsch, Zur Gesch. d. Jud. Poesie, pages 144, 149; Munk, Samuel ha-Naqid, in his notice on Abu'l- Walid Merwan, etc. (Par. 1851), pages 90-109; Gratz, Blumenlese Neuhebr. Dichtungen (Bresl. 1862), page 33; Kitmpf, Nichtandalusische Poesie Andalusischer Dichter (Prague, 1858), page 157 sq.; Sachs, Religiose Poesie der Juden in Spanien (Berl. 1843), page 216; First, Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, introd. page 28; Kalisch, Hebrew Grammar (Lond. 1863), 2:24 sq.; Kimchi, Liber Radicum (ed. Biesenthal et Lebrecht [Berol. 1847]), page 46 sq.; Cassel, Leitfaden fur Jud. Gesch. u. Literatur (Berl. 1872), page 59 sq. (B.P.)


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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Nagdilah, Samuel Ben-Joseph, ha-Levt'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/n/nagdilah-samuel-ben-joseph-ha-levt.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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