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HOUBIGANT, CHARLES FRANÇOIS:

French Christian Hebraist; born in Paris in 1686; died there Oct. 31, 1783. In 1704 Houbigant entered the order of the Congregation of the Oratory. The pupil of Maclef, he was imbued with his teacher's anti-Masoretic prejudices. After lecturing at Jeuilly, Marseilles, and Soissons, he went to Paris in 1722, and lectured at St. Magloire until, at an advanced age, total deafness compelled him to retire. His "Racines de la Langue Hébraïque" is of the nature of a Hebrew dictionary (Paris, 1732), in the preface to which, defending Maclef's system, he endeavors to show the uselessness of vowel-points in Hebrew. In his "Prolegomena in Scripturam Sacram" (ib. 1746) he maintains that the original text of the Old Testament has undergone many alterations in consequence of the carelessness of the copyists, and gives rules by which these faults may be discovered and corrected.

Houbigant also wrote: "Psalmi Hebraici" (Leyden, 1748), the Psalms corrected in accordance with the principles of his "Prolegomena"; "Biblia Hebraica cum Notis Criticis et Versione Latina" (Paris, 1753). This latter is his most important work, and shows his entire disregard of the Masorah. The text is printed without vowel-points, and his corrections, in which he takes no account of the "ḳeri" and "ketib," are made mostly from the Samaritan Pentateuch, to which Houbigant, like Morin, attached great importance. These corrections, as well as his "Prolegomena," arrayed against him such well-known scholars as Rave, Kalle, Stridsberg, and Michaelis, who accused Houbigant of ignorance of Hebrew and of arbitrary alterations. The critical notes of the "Biblia Hebraica," and the "Prolegomena" have been published separately under the title "Notæ Criticæ in Universos Veteris Testamenti Libros" (Frankfort-on-the-main, 1777).

Bibliography:
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 415;
  • McClintock and Strong, Cyc.
J. M. Sel.
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