ABRAHAM BEN AZRIEL OF BOHEMIA:
By: Louis Ginzberg
A Bohemian Talmudist and grammarian, who flourished in the first half of the thirteenth century and probably lived at Prague. Among his works, yet unpublished, is a commentary on the Maḥzor, entitled "Arugat ha-Bosem" (Bed of Spices), probably the most ancient Jewish literary effort in any Slavonic country. In this Abraham shows himself to have been a faithful follower of the scholars of northern France, who, uninfluenced by Arabo-Spanish philosophy, devoted their attention solely to the Bible and the Talmud. As a Talmudist Abraham exhibited a strong tendency to casuistry, while as a Bible exegete he was simple and sound, working chiefly after the method of RaSHBaM, whose commentary he often quotes. It is not certain that he enjoyed actual personal intercourse with his French brethren; he may have been influenced only by their literary productions.
The explanation of many obscure Hebrew words by their Bohemian equivalents in Abraham's work shows that the Jews of Bohemia at that time made use of the vernacular; and some of the Bohemian expressions there adduced are among the oldest in the language.
- Berliner's Magazin, i, 2, 3;
- Perles, in Monatsschrift, 1877, pp. 360-373;
- Kaufmann, ibid. 1882, pp. 316-324, 360-370, 410-422; 1886, pp. 129 et seq.