Hungarian historian of Jewish literature; born at Presburg, Hungary, 1810; died at Vienna Aug. 3, 1891. He studied Talmudical literature in the yeshibah of Moses Sofer, rabbi of Presburg; but his passion for Biblical studies, which found no sympathy in his native town, led him to the yeshibah of Wörzburg, where he also devoted himself to the acquisition of a secular education. After a prolonged stay at Wörzburg he returned home; but displeased with the manners of his fellow citizens, and impelled by a thirst for knowledge, he visited the principal European cities in which there were libraries containing Hebrew manuscripts. He lived successively at Munich,Tübingen, Hanover, Hamburg, Paris, Leipsic, Oxford, and then spent about twenty years in London.
Dukes was an original character, a fact due probably to his solitary life and privations. His scholarship was extensive and exact, and his works cover the fields of exegesis, Haggadah, grammar, Masorah, the history of literature, ethics, and poetry. In all of these he made many ingenious and important discoveries; and his books became indispensable supplements to those of Zunz, Rapoport, and Krochmal.
Dukes was the author of the following works:
"Raschi zum Pentateuch," translated into German (in Hebrew characters) and explained, 5 vols., Prague, 1833-38; "Ehrensäulen und Denksteine zu einem Künftigen Pantheon Hebräischer Dichter und Dichtungen," Vienna, 1837; "Moses ibn Ezra," Altona, 1839; "Zur Kenntniss der Neuhebräischen Religiösen Poesic," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1842; "Rabbinische Blumenlese," Leipsic, 1844; three "beiträge," published by Ewald and Dukes: I. "Beiträge zur Geschichte der Aeltesten Auslegung und Spracherklärung des A. T."; II. "Literatur-Historische Mittheilungen über die Aeltesten Hebräischen Exegeten, Grammatiker, und Lexicographen," Stuttgart, 1844; III. "Ueber die Arabisch Geschriebenen Werke Jüdischer Sprachgelehrten," Stuttgart, 1844; "Sefer Diḳduḳ, die Grammatischen Schriften des Jehuda Chajjug," Frankfort, 1844; "Ḳonteros ha-Masorah," Tübingen, 1845; "Ḳobeẓ'al Yad, Handschriftliche Inedita über Lexicographic," Esslingen, 1846; "Die Sprache der Mischna," ib. 1846; "Shir 'al Mot," etc., elegy on the death of Meyer Joseph Königsberg, London, 1847; "Les Proverbes de Salomon" (historical introduction), in Cahen's Bible translation, Paris, 1851; "Ginze Oxford," extracts from manuscripts, in collaboration with H. Edelmann, London, 1850; "Naḥal Ḳedumim," on the history of Hebrew poetry in the Middle Ages, in two parts, Hanover, 1858; "Zur Rabbinischen Spruchkunde," Vienna, 1858; "Shire Shelomoh," Hebrew poems of Solomon ibn Gabirol, Hanover, 1858; "Salomo ben Gabirol aus Malaga und die Ethischen Werke Desselben," ib. 1860; "Philosophisches aus dem Zehnten Jahrhundert," Nakel, 1868.
In addition to these works, Dukes was a frequent contributor to all the Jewish scientific periodicals, chiefly to the "Literaturblatt des Orients," which he enriched with numerous valuable articles on the history of Jewish literature.
- Beth-El, Ehrentempel Verdienter Ungarischer Israeliten, pp. 127 et seq.;
- H. Zirndorf, in Populärwissenschaftliche Monatsblätter, 1892, pp. 127 et seq.