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Review: ספר ההשגה – לבוש עברי עלום לחיבורו הראשון של ר' יונה אבן ג'נאח

Reviewed Works: ספר ההשגה הוא כתאב אלמסתלחק לר' יונה אבן ג'נאח בתרגומו העברי של עובדיה הספרדי: מהדורה ביקורתית על יסוד שני כתבי יד ובהשוואה למקור הערבי, בתוספת מבוא, הערות ומפתח הפסוקים by דוד טנא, אהרן ממן; Sefer ha-Hassaga of Rabbi Jonah Ibn Janāḥ by David Téné
Review by: אהרן דותן , Aron Dotan
Lĕšonénu: A Journal for the Study of the Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects / לשוננו: כתב-עת לחקר הלשון העברית והתחומים הסמוכים לה
Vol. סט‎, No. א/ב‎ (אדר התשס"ז), pp. 175-184
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24332596
Page Count: 10
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ספר ההשגה – לבוש עברי עלום לחיבורו הראשון של ר' יונה אבן ג'נאח
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Abstract

Ibn Janāḥ's first grammatical work, the Mustalḥiq (not Mastalḥaq as on the English title-page), constitutes his critique, corrections, and emendations of Ḥayyūj's works, alongside new items. In this work Ibn Janāḥ laid the foundations of his grammar on the basis of Ḥayyūj's grammatical theory. Previously known only in the Judeo-Arabic original published by Joseph and Hartwig Derenbourg in 1889, this hitherto unknown Hebrew translation appears here for the first time, in an eclectic, critical edition according to two manuscripts. Prepared by the late Professor David Téné, this edition was edited and brought to press posthumously by his devoted student, Professor Aharon Maman. Téné provided the textual foundation for the critical edition along with annotations and a critical apparatus. For the reader, the lack of a comprehensive commentary to the sometimes perplexing text is quite disturbing. Téné unfortunately did not get around to a discussion of the method of translation, comparison to other translations of medieval grammatical works, and a treatment of the translator's extraordinary Hebrew and terminology. Nothing is said about the identity of the translator, Obadiah, his time and place, or how he is connected to the translation. What Téné does provide are notes shedding new light on the grammatical insights of both Ḥayyūj and Ibn Janāḥ. Although not of much help in clarifying difficult passages, these comments, with their brilliant analysis and innovative insights, constitute a substantial contribution to scholars. Téné's absence is heavily felt in the layout of the text, the minutae of its vocalization, and the inconvenient setup of the cross-references and footnotes. Professor Maman has corrected some of these shortcomings in his preface, in which he describes the two manuscripts and dates the translation to the latter half of the twelfth century. He comments on Téné's method of determining the readings of the text and the apparatus. Above all, his general, sixty-page introduction based on various previous publications and lectures by Téné provides a clear idea of the nature of Ibn Janāḥ's treatise, his attitude toward Ḥayyūj, and his disputes with his adversaries. Overall, in spite of its shortcomings, this is still an important publication, indispensable to scholars and students of medieval Hebrew grammar.

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