By: Richard Gottheil
Name used by Jews in Provence and northern Spain. In Hebrew it is written in various forms: , ; or , with the substitution of g for t, not uncommon in Romance languages ("Shebeṭ Yehudah," ed. Wiener, p. 112); in Provençal, "Prophègue" or "Profag" ("Monatsschrift," xxxi. 499). In Latin documents it takes the form "Profatius" (e.g., Jacob ben Makir, mentioned by Copernicus in "R. E. J." xiii. 108; "Profacius Etiam Judæus," in "Monatsschrift," xliii. 254); in French, "Profait" ("Isaquetus Profait Judæus," 1409; see "Monatsschrift," xxxi. 499). In modern times the name has been transcribed as Peripoth, Peripetus, Periphot, Prifoth, Prevot, Parfait, Pourpeth, Peripedes, and Prophiat. The form in Benjamin of Tudela's travels, and which Grätz ("Gesch." vi. 399) explained as "from Perpignan," is a mistake for . According to Buxtorf, Saenger, and Neubauer, "Profiat" is derived from the Latin "Profeta," and is a translation of the Hebrew "nabi," an epithet occasionally used in connection with learned rabbis. The word "nabi," however, never occurs as a proper name in Hebrew documents, and the explanation is, therefore, doubtful.
Isaac Bloch and Gross hold that the proper pronunciation of the name is "profet." The name is the same as Barfat, both originating in the Provençal "Perfetto."
In combination with "En" (= "Sen" = "Senior") the name occurs as , etc.
- Saenger, Ueber die Aussprache und Bedeutung des Namens , in Monatsschrift, iv. 197 et seq.;
- Gross, in Monatsschrift, xxix. 407, xxxi. 499;
- Bloch, in R. E. J. x. 255;
- Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 371;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 6783;
- idem, Hebr. Uebers, p. 221, note 818;
- Renan-Neubauer, Les Rabbins Français, p. 600;
- idem, Ecrivains Juifs, p. 741.