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DAVID KIMHI (c. 1160-1235)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 800 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DAVID KIMHI (c. 1160-1235), also known as Redaq (=R. David Kimhi), eclipsed the fame both of his father and his brother. From the writings of the former he quotes a great number of explanations, some of which are known only from this source. His magnum opus is the Sefer Miklol, "Book of Completeness." This falls into two divisions: the grammar, to which the title of the whole, Miklol, is usually applied (first printed in Constantinople, 1532-1534, then, with the notes of Elias Levita, at Venice, 1545), and the lexicon, Sefer Hashorashim, "Book of Roots," which was first printed in Italy before 148o, then at Naples in 1490, and at Venice in 1546 with the annotations of Elias. The model and the principal source for this work of David Kimhi's was the book of R. Jonah (Abulwalid), which was cast in a similar bipartite form; and it was chiefly due to Kiml.1i's grammar and lexicon that, while the contents of Abulwalid's works were common knowledge, they themselves remained in oblivion for centuries. In spite of this dependence on his predecessors his work shows originality, especially in the arrangement of his material. In the grammar he combined the paradigmatic method of his brother Moses with the procedure of the older scholars who devoted a close attention to details. In his dictionary, again, he recast the lexicological materials independently, and enriched lexicography itself, especially by his numerous etymological explanations. Under the title Et Soler, " Pen of the Writer " (Lyk, 1864), David Kimhi composed a sort of grammatical compendium as a guide to the correct punctuation of the biblical manuscripts; it consists, for the most part, of extracts from the Miklol. After the completion of his great work he began to write commentaries on portions of the Scriptures. The first was on Chronicles, then followed one on the Psalms, and finally his exegetical masterpiece—the commentary on the prophets. His annotations on the Psalms are especially interesting for the polemical excursuses directed against the Christian interpretation. He was also responsible for a commentary on Genesis (ed. A. Giinsburg, Pressburg, 1842), in which he followed Moses Maimonides in explaining biblical narratives as visions. He was an enthusiastic adherent of Maimonides, and, though far advanced in years, took an active part in the battle which raged in southern France and Spain round his philosophicoreligious writings. The popularity of his biblical exegesis is demonstrated by the fact that the first printed texts of the Hebrew Bible were accompanied by his commentary: the Psalms 1477, perhaps at Bologna; the early Prophets, 1485, Soncino; the later Prophets, ibid. 1486. His commentaries have been frequently reprinted, many of them in Latin translations. A new edition of that on the Psalms was begun by Schiller-Szinessy,(First Book of Psalms, Cambridge, 1883). Abr. Geiger wrote of the three Kimbis in the Hebrew periodical Oar Nehmad (vol. ii., 1857 =A. Geiger, Gesammelte Schriften, v. 1-47). See further the Jewish Encyclopedia. . (W. BA.)
End of Article: DAVID KIMHI (c. 1160-1235)

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