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JOSEPH BEN DAVID HA-YEWANI (= "the Greek"):

Greek grammarian and lexicographer; flourished at the end of the thirteenth or about the middle of the fourteenth century. He was the author of a still unpublished work entitled "Menorat ha-Ma'or," a Hebrew lexicon preceded by a short grammar, the latter being dedicated to a certain Elijah b. Hananeel ha-Levi. The lexicon reached no further than the root . Joseph often quotes Judah Ḥayyuj, Ibn Janaḥ, Rashi, Ḳimḥi, Abraham ibn Ezra, and others; but Saadia, Sherira, and Hai are quoted less frequently. He quotes also the poets, as Moses ibn Ezra and Judah ha-Levi, giving occasionally some of their verse. In his grammar Joseph explains allegorically the forms of the Hebrew letters, using chiefly Judah ibn Matḳah's "Midrash ha-Ḥokmah"; and he complains of the indifference with which Hebrew grammar was regarded by the Jews. Extracts from the lexicon were published by Dukes in "Orient, Lit." (xi. 173, 183, 215), but Dukes erroneously placed Joseph at the beginning of the thirteenth century, though the "Midrash ha-Ḥokmah" quoted by Joseph was first written in Arabic in the middle of the thirteenth century (see Ibn Matḳah). The sale-contract at the head of the manuscript (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 1485) is dated 1649 Seleucidan era (=1337 C.E.). Both Benjacob ("Oẓar ha-Sefarim," p. 338, No. 1442) and Fürst ("Bibl. Jud." ii. 168) confounded the author of the "Menorat ha-Ma'or" with Joseph b. Moses Kalti, a Greek of the second half of the fifteenth century, and author of a treatise on logic entitled "Minḥat Yehudah" (still unpublished; comp. Zunz, Notes to Benjamin of Tudela, ed. Asher, ii. 29).

Bibliography:
  • Dukes, in Orient, Lit. x. 705, 727, 745;
  • Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, p. 140;
  • Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. iii., No. 875b.
T. M. Sel.
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