Spanish grammarian; lived in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, probably at Barcelona. He was a pupil of the grammarian Levi ibn Tabban of Saragossa (author of the "Mafteaḥ"), and a contemporary of Judah ha-Levi and Moses ibn Ezra, who dedicated to him several of their poems; the latter also wrote an elegy on his death (comp. "Kokebe Yiẓḥaḳ," 1858, p. 28; Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 1972; Brody, in "Monatsschrift," xl. 33). Ibn Barun was well versed in Arabic literature, and was the first to realize the close connection existing between Hebrew grammatical and lexicographical forms and those of the Arabic. This connection was pointed out by him in a work entitled "Kitab al-Muwazanah," divided into two parts, the first treating of Hebrew grammar in comparison with Arabic,the second of lexicography. Fragments of this work, which until recently was known only from quotations, were discovered in the Imperial Library of St. Petersburg, and published, with introduction, translation, and notes in Russian, by Paul v. Kokowzow (St. Petersburg, 1894).

Ibn Barun frequently quotes the Koran, the "Mu'allaḳat," the "Kitab al-'Ain" of Khalil, and many other standard works of Arabic literature, with which he was thoroughly acquainted. His Hebrew sources were Saadia Gaon, Hai Gaon, Dunash ibn Tamim, Ḥayyuj (whose theories he frequently criticized), Ibn Janaḥ, Samuel ha-Nagid, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Ibn Jashush, Ibn Bal'am, and Moses Gikatilla. Moses ibn Ezra says that Ibn Barun also compared Hebrew with Latin and Berber, and that his dictionary is superior to that of Dunash ibn Tamim. Nevertheless, Ibn Barun's work passed almost unnoticed by the Hebrew philologists of the Middle Ages. He is mentioned by name only by Moses ibn Ezra in his treatise on Hebrew poetry and rhetoric. Several of his comparisons are cited without acknowledgment by Joseph Ḳimḥi, by Abraham ben Solomon of Yemen in his work on the Prophets, and by an anonymous fifteenth-century commentator to the "Moreh Nebukim."

  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1060;
  • idem, in Kobak's Jeschurun, ix. 66-67;
  • idem, Die Arabische Litteratur der Juden, § 97;
  • J. Derenbourg, in R. E. J. xxx. 156;
  • Bacher, in Stade's Zeitschrift, xiv. 223 et seq.;
  • Neubauer, in J. Q. R. vi. 567;
  • Eppenstein, in R. E. J. xli. 233;
  • idem, in Ha-Eshkol, ii. 198;
  • David von Günzburg, in Ha-Meliẓ, 1895, Nos. 152, 176, 225, 226.
T. I. Br.
Images of pages