KIMCHI, kim'kî (KIMHI): The name of a Jewish family of scholars of Spanish descent, flourishing in France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

1. Joseph ben Isaac Kimchi, b. in southern


Spain c. 1100; d. probably in Narbonne c. 1175; migrated from Spain to Narbonne. In his grammatical studies he was influenced by Judah ben Hayyuj, Abul-Walid, and Abraham ibn Esra. His grammar, Sepher zikkaron, "Book of remembrance" (cf. Mal. iii. 16), gives for the first time the division of the Hebrew vowels into five long ones and five short ones. The Sepher haggalui, "Book of Open Evidence" (cf. Jer. xxxii. 14) is a criticism of the dictionary of Menahem ben Saruk and its defense by Jacob ben Meir. Joseph wrote also commentaries on Proverbs, Job and the Song of Songs. Codex de Rossi 166 contains excerpts from an exposition of the Pentateuch, and marginal notes in the Codex de Rossi 1070 give comments on the prophets. A commentary on the whole Bible belonged, according to the catalogue Collectio Davidis, p. 525, to the library of Oppenheimer. According to Zunz (Litteraturgeschichte der synagogalen Poesie, p. 460, Berlin, 1865), Joseph wrote also six liturgical poems. From the Arabic he translated the Mibhhar happeninim of Solomon ibn Gabirol and a large part of the "Duties of the Heart" of Bachja ibn Pakuda. Of his Sepher habberith, "Book of the Covenant" (cf. Ex. xxiv. 7), a conversation between a believing Jew and an infidel, only the beginning has been preserved.

2. Moses Kimchi,the older son of Joseph, d. about 1190, has become generally known by his Mahalakh shebile hadda'ath, "Guide to the Paths of Science," a concise epitome of Hebrew grammar. His grammatical work Sepher Tahbosheth quoted by David Kimchi seems to have been lost. Zunz (ut sup., p. 462) enumerates four liturgical poems by Moses. His exposition of Proverbs was completed 1178, that of Job 1184.

3. David Kimchi, usually called Redak, the younger son of Joseph, was born at Narbonne c. 1160; d. there 1235. He often calls his father and his brother his teachers. As a grammarian and exegete David distinguishes himself by his diligent compilation of facts, sober judgment and clear expression. By making an exhaustive use of Abul-Walid, he enjoyed great authority among both Christians and Jews, although he possessed little originality. Reuchlin and Sebastian Münster made large use of his works. These have been very frequently printed, many of his commentaries with Latin translations. E. König's Lehrgebäude der hebräischen Sprache (Leipsic, 1881 sqq.) was compiled "in constant dependence upon Qimchi," and even now scholars may receive many a suggestion from Kimchi's works.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: In general: G. B. de Rossi, Historisches Wörterbuch der jüdischen Schriftsteller, pp. 164-171, Bautzen, 1839; Ersch and Gruber, Encyclopädie, lI. xxxvi. 54-57; J. Winter and A. Wünsche, Die jüdische Litteratur, ii. 191-205, 306-314, Treves, 1894; JE, vii. 494-497.

On 1: E. Bluth, in Magazin für die Wissenschaft des Jedenthums, 1891-92 passim; W, Bacher, in Revue des études juives, vi (1883), 208-221. On 2: W. Bacher, ut sup., xxi (1890), 281-285. On 3: J. Tauber, Standpunkt und Leistung des David Kimchi als Grammatiker, Breslau, 1867; Encyclopædia Britannica, xiv. 77-78.


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