George Alexander Kohut.

Semitic studies in memory of Rev. Dr. Alexander Kohut online

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IN Memory


Rev. Dr. Alexander Kohut

Edited By

George Alexander Kohut

With Portrait and Memoir

paltnom <]uimcntttfttat.




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who so lovingly guided me in life,

and whose presence, far from being removed by death,

still continues to lend me hope and inspiration

to walk in the paths of righteousness, which he,

like Samuel the Prophet, trod just fifty-two years;

To him, whose delight was in the Law of the Lord

therein to meditate by day and by night, without hindrance or restraint,

until the final Sabbath brought him eternal peace;

Whose pure and priestly lips were touched to eloquence

by the live coal of truth taken from the altar of God,

in Whose service before the Shrine he first received

the summons to eternity;

To my Father,

whose whole life was gentle, whose heart was ever childlike,

whose soul was ever great and lofty,

upon whose brow was plainly writ the autograph of God,

I inscribe these pages,

— precious greetings from many minds and many climes —

in filial love and piety

Gteorge Alexander Eohnt.

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And the teachers that be wise shall shine as the brightness of
the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars
for ever and ever.

Daniel, XII, 3.

The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not
found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and uprightness, and
did turn many away from iniquity.

Malachi, 11, 6.

Rabbi Simeon said, Thqre are three crowns: the crown of Torah,
the crown of Priesthood, and the crown of Kingdom; but the crown of
a good name excelleth them all.

Pirke Aboth, IV, 17.

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"Erect no memorials to the righteous", wrote our sages
of old, ''for their works (words) are their monuments!"

The memory of the righteous scholar, Alexander
Kohut, who toiled with almost superhuman energy from
youth to manhood, aye, even at the brink of his early
grave, in the workshop of science, need not have been per-
petuated by a monument as stately as this, which the
greatest sculptors of thought have so ungrudgingly set in his
honor. For he himself has placed his monument in all the
great librai'ies of the world — ctere perennius.

This gathering of noted bookmen must, therefore, not be
regarded in the light of an apotheosis, though the united
homage of such high-priests of intellect sheds a peculiar
luster upon his name. He who exalts another, said the
Rabbis, is himself exalted. Thus, indeed, the halo of dignity
rests wholly upon them, whose scholarly sympathies are here
crystallized into thoughts that make them all kindred with
him, who has struggled and searched after truth, and in
searching, died for it. This work is a monument of their
learning and integrity !

The idea of compiling a memorial volume was not con-
ceived by me. I deemed it my duty to interpolate my per-
sonality only after the plan, as set forth by two of England's
greatest scholars had matured. The task of editorship was
too irksome to be enti'usted to any one of the noted con-
tributors, and as my studies led me to Berlin, where the
work was to be printed, it was but natural that I should
assume a burden that was both sweet and sad for me.

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The first impetus came from Professor S. 8chechter,
M. A., the learued Reader in Rabbinics at the University of
Cambridge. He it was who, some months after the decease
of my lamented father, suggested the propriety of publishing
such a collection, and acting upon his friendly advice, I in-
vited the cooperation of several eminent scholars, among
them the Nestor of Indo- Germanic studies, Professor F. Max
Mil Her, of Oxford, who, I had hoped, would consent to
write the Introduction to the book. His prompt and kindly
offer to contribute an article, and his ready advice in matters
pertaining to the literary remains of my sainted father are
evidences not only of his unique greatness in science, but
also of his warm and generous heart as we have learned to
know it from his Deutsche Liebe and from the delightful
recollections now publishing (in Cosmopolis, 1896—97), wherein
he unbosoms an inner nature sublime and poetic, rightly in-
herited from Germany's famous bard. I may be pardoned
for quoting a few sentences from his letters, dated January
1895, Which encouraged me to continue the work I had

"I answer your letter at once", wrote he in reply to my
circular, "so as to prevent any delay in your plans. Allow
me to say at once that I am not allowed at present to read
or write much, and that it would be quite impossible for me
to undei'take to write a preface to yoiu* Collection of Essays.
I hope to be able to contribute an essay but even that must
depend on the state of my health and the state of my eyes.
What I can do, I shall do gladly, particularly now that I
know that we shall have a collected edition of your learned
father's papers"

"I hope you will be able to go on with the literary
labours you have undertaken in memory of your eminent
father. I almost fear that my last letter did not reach
you for I had explained in it that I could not under-
take to write an introduction to the volume of Essays, as I
am not sufficiently acquainted with the numerous works that
have issued from his pen. I am glad to see from your letter

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that you have not surrendered the idea of publishing a coUec-
Hon of essays contributed by various writers in honor of your
distinguished father^s memory. I saw a paragraph in a London
paper that a collection of such essays , all exclusively on
Semitic subjects, was in the press, and I thought in conse-
quence that you had changed your original plan. Not hearing
from you and being pressed for other work, I put aside what
I had meant for your volume, but I shall now take it up
again and try to finish it as soon as possible. Only please
to remember I cannot work at 72 as I used to work at 27 !"

The essay contributed by the great linguist shows aU
signs of youthful health. He still writes with elastic vigor
upon subjects which he alone knows how to vivify with the
current of lofty thought and ingenious conjecture. I must
add that his paper and that of Professor Steinschneider
— the two pioneers of original research in Aryan and Semi-
tic study — were the first to reach me and are placed first
in the volume, as they embrace topics of general interest.
Professor M tiller subsequently wrote me that had he had
more time at his disposal, he would have made his article
far more complete.

Of the other contributions, which are alphabetically
arranged, little need be said, for they tell their own message,
and tell it well. Dr. Cyrus Adler, in his laudable zeal for
science, retold it elsewhere (Jewish Quarterly Reciew, January
1896), but that does not make it, we trust, a twice-told tale.
Several scholars, among them, Dr. H. Adler, Chief Rabbi of
England, Dr. Zadoc Kahn, Chief Rabbi of France, Prof. W.
Bacher (Budapest), Dr. A. Berliner (Berlin), Salomon
Buber (Lemberg), Prof. D. Chwolsohn (St. Petersburg),
Canon S. R. Driver (Oxford), Prof. S. Fraenkel (Breslau),
Dr. M. Gtid^mann (Vienna), Prof. Paul Horn (Strassburg),
Prof. A. V W. Jackson (New York), Prof. D. Kaufmann
(Budapest), Prof. E. Kautzsch (Halle), Dr. S. Maybaum
(Berlin), Prof. F. Muhlau (Kiel), Prof. D. H. Muller
(Vienna), Prof. Th. Noldeke (Strassburg), Prof. F. Prae-
torius (Halle), Prof. James Robertson (Glasgow), Prof.

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A. H. Sayce (Oxford), Prof. B. Stade (Giessen), and Prof
C. P. Tiele (Leyden), have attested their fullest sympathy
with the undertaking and regretted, that owing to pressure
of official duty they could not contribute to the work. Thus
writes Prof. D. Chwolsohn:

"Ich bedauere sehr Ihrem Wunsche nicht nachkommen
zu konnen, so geme ich auch mein Scherflein zum wohlver-
dienten Denkmal fiir Ihren unermiidlichen, mit so gl&nzenden
Erfolgen arbeitenden seligen Vater beitragen mochte. Ich
habe zwei sehr dringende Arbeiten vor mir, die zu einer
bestimmten Zeit fertig sein miissen etc. etc."

"Den vorzeitigen Hintritt Ihres Herm Vaters", writes
Prof. S. Fraenkel, ^'eines rastlosen und erfolgreichen
Arbeiters auf weiten Gebieten orientalischer Sprach- und
Alterthumskunde, muss Jeder mit Ihnen beklagen, und es ist
ein schoner Gedanke, ihm in einer SamnUung mssenschafUicher
Abhandlungen mn Denkmal zu setzen, Wurde mir die Mit-
theilung friiher zugegangen sein, so h&tte ich vielleicht Ihnen
einen kleineu Beitrag senden konnen; aber bis zu dem an-
gegebenen Termine ist es mir anderweitiger Arbeiten wegen
nicht moglich."

I can not forbear to cite the sympathetic lines of Prof.
James Robertson, of Glasgow University, whose learned
and ingenious exposition of the Early Beligion of Israel is a
noble specimen of liberal and conservative scholarship:

"You could not have sent me a gift more prized for
itself", writes he, "than the Fourth Biennial Report of the
Jewish "Theological Seminary, which reached me some time
ago. Doubly precious for the few lines from your own hand
inscribed upon it. Alas that the Report should contain your
lamented father's last contribution to the learning he did so
much to advance and to adorn. I value and • shall always
treasure these gifts as memorials of one, who by his gen-
tleness and sweetness of disposition shed a peculiar charm
upon the wondrous lore he had accumulated. You do me
much honour in asking me to contribute a short paper to
the memorial volume which is in contemplation. K I can

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at all carry out the intention, I should like to send something;
and nothing I can think of could be more in keeping with
the character of his own recent studies than some account of
the Oriental manuscripts in the Hunterian Museum of this
University. Not that the collection contains anything specially
in his own field — for I do not think it does; but there is
a miscellaneous gathering which has never been properly
catalogued, or only catalogued in such a way as to mislead.
And I have afken wished for an opportunity of making known
among scholars what the museum actually possesses of this
description. Unfortunately I am always very busy during the
winter-months, as all our teaching work is compressed into
a winter -session; and therefore I can only provisionally
promise this paper. But I shall make all endeavours to fulfil
my promise, though for no other reason than for the saiis-
faction of being associated with those who combine to lay a
little tribute on his tomb'^

"I should be very happy", writes Prof. C. P. Tiele,
Holland's most distinguished scholar, "to write a paper for
the Memorial Book you propose to publish, to do honor to
the memory of your deceased father. But I am so over-
burdened by official duties and literary work, and am so deep
in debt to several Editors at home and abroad, that it is im-
possible for me to cooperate, though I sincerely wish I could
write a few pages for your interesting collection .... I
know that I would be in exellent company and I honour the
name of your deceased father . . . who was known to me
since long by the suggestive articles he wrote on the relations
between Judaism and Parsism, and by other works of his

pen But indeed, at my time of life, with a rather

delicate health and with so much work to be done, it is im-
possible to do more. I am just suffering under the fulfilment
of a promise inadvertently given! .... Pray don't ascribe
my negative answer to your invitation, to a want of respect
for your father's memory, as I think very highly of his
tafents, erudition and character, and of the work he has

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These letters, and many more, which lack of space
forbids me to cite, are indeed precious testimonials of
esteem and reverence. Such praise, according to a quaint, but
beautiful saying of the Rabbis, causes the lips of the dead
to move in the grave!

It is my painful duty to record the loss of one of the
most important contributions written especially for this
volume by Prof. Jules Oppert, Membre de Vhisti-
tut, of Paris. The Ms., covering 18 pages 8®, entitled: Utie
convention commerciale de Vepoque d' Abraham, was lost
in transmittance to the printers in Kirchhain N.-L. (Ger-
many) and despite a most thorough search conducted by
the post-office authorities, it could not be located. I dare do
no more than openly express my infinite regret over this
imlucky circumstance and pray the distinguished veteran of
Assyriology to consider it not his loss, but that of the scho-
larly world. In a private letter, dated February 14th 1896,
Prof. Oppert wrote as follows:

''Sie haben an mich die fur mich sehr schmeichelhafte
Bitte gerichtet, zu dem Gedenkbuch Ihres seligen Herm
Vaters einen Beitrag zu liefem. Ich habe leider nicht die
Ehre gehabt, den Verewigten selbst personlich zu kennen,
und habe in ihm nur den Ilerausgeber des Aruch Completum
schiitzen gewusst, so wie die tiefe Kenutniss, die derselbe in
seinen Werken an den Tag gelegt. Die kindliche Pietat mit
der Sie Ihres Vaters Gedachtniss ehren wollen, hat mich er-
muthigt Ihrcm Wunsche zu willfahren. Freilich erkenne ich
mir nicht die Autoritat zu, um eine Introduction zu den Ab-
handlungen zu schreiben, da die specifisch rabbinische Gelehr-
samkeit nicht mein besonderes Fach ist, und da zu eine solche
Leistung die Kenntnis der Personlichkeit selbst unbedingt
geboten ist. Aber ich sonde Ihnen einen ganz originalen an
Entdeckungen reichen Artikel iiber eine alte Inschrift aus dem
22. Jahrhundert vor der christlichen Zeitrechnung

The letter needs no commentary beyond another emphasis
of regret that so valuable a paper, of which the noted scholar
had no copy, should be irretrievably lost to science.

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A very learned and extensive monograph by the famous
Arabian traveller and epigraphist, Dr. EduardGlaser, now
sojourning in Muenchen, could not be included in this volume,
as its publication necessitated the personal supervision of its
author at the place of printing. It appeared separately, under
the title: Die Abessinier in Arabien und Afrika (Muenchen,
1895). Prof. Derenbourg's article (see p. 122 — 5) is based
upon an inscription discovered by Dr. Glaser, to whose
kindness we are indebted for the facsimile.

I feel duty bound to state in this connection that two
valuable articles by Dr. M. Giidemann, Chief Rabbi of
Vienna, and Prof. Israel Levi of Paris reached me too late
for publication. They were subsequently devoted to an
equally noble purpose, that of doing homage to Prof. M.
Steinschneider, on the occasion of his 80*^^ birthday (Of.
Festschrift [Leipzig, 1896], pp. 1—15; T^hiUah VMoshch, pp.

An article, forwarded to me by the venerable Rabbi Dr.
Israel Hildesheimer, containing a few additions to the
Sef^ Hassidim was considered by Dr. A. Berliner too
fragmentary for publication. Two further interesting contri-
butions, one by the learned librarian of Parma, Abb6 Pietro
Perreau, on the Commentary of Immanuel ben Shelomo
to Lamentations , published in 60 autographed copies in
1881*), and the other, by the Rev. S. Roubin, formerly of
San Francisco, entitled: A compendious description of the
Hebrew -Arabic Manuscripts in the Sutro Library in San
Francisco^ could not be included in this work on account
of their extent (both circa 80 folio pages). The former,
though worthy of republication, is still accessible, and the
latter will most probably be incorporated in the author's larger
Catalogtui, which is now ready for the press. It is to be

\) Comento sopra il volume dt Trent (rwn n^»jD '»b) del Rabbi Itn-
mantiel ben Sahmo romano inedito ed unico trascritto e publiccUo da Pietro
Perreau, Secondo il codice ebreo-rabbinico derossiano No, 615. Parma
1881 {auk>grafia\ edizione di 60 esemplari^ proprieta riservata. 1 page of
preface in Italian and 76 of Hebrewtext in folio.

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hoped that he will not follow up his arguments regarding
the Mairaonidic authorship of the Midrash haggadol,
to prove which he devotes 16 folio pages in his description
of the 25 copies in the Sutro library. Mr. Schechter's
edition of this Midrash is in the press and will appear shortly.

Mr. Salomon Buber, the master of Midrashic studies,
one of my lamented father's earliest friends, who has just
reached his three-score yeare and ten of blessed activity,
sent me early in 1895 his critical edition of Midrash Lekah-
Tob to Lamentations, for publication in this work. Unfortunately,
he was not aware that it has already been published as a doctor-
dissertation in Berlin, 1895, by Nacht (Tdbia hen Elieser's
Kommentar zu Thrmi), in a manner however which leaves room
for Buber' s superior edition (cf. Steinschneider in DLZ.y
1895, p. 1416 — 17). His subsequent offer to contribute his
critical edition of Yemen-Midrashim to the Book of Esther,
came too late for acceptance. To him and to the above named
scholars I herewith extend my grateful acknowledgments for
their kindness and courtesy.

It has been thought appropriate to give, instead of an
extentive biography, which is reserved for another occasion,
a brief character-sketch of the deceased, written by one who
knew and loved him well and whose delineation is indeed
true to life. The photograveure has been prepared from a
portrait taken in 1890, when suffering and disease had not
yet written lines and furrows upon his face. I should have
been glad to compile a bibliography of his writings, a resume
of which, with other biographical facts, is given in a little
memorial volume published in New York 1894, mentioned
below (p. XVIII). But such a task demands more time than
I had at my disposal this year, and besides, tbe necessary
materials for a complete list of his literary labors were not
within immediate reach. I hope to compile this bibliography
in the near future.

In conclusion I beg to state that the delay caused in the
publication of the Semitic Studies is due to the fact that
almost all the contributors, who live at no small distance from

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the place of printing, received proofs (some even 2 or 3)
of their articles. It is to be regretted that despite a careful
revision so many texts are disfigured by typographical errors,
besides those noted in the list appended to this work. I
ventured here and there, as also at the end of the work,
to add a few notes of my own for which alone I hold myself
responsible. They are usually marked by a square bracket
in the text and by the initials G.A.K. in the notes.

I can not close these prefatory remarks without ^ word
of thanks to Mr. Hugo Bloch, the worthy chief of the
publishing-house of S. Calvary & Co., who spared neither
labor nor expense to make this volume a fitting memorial
to the name and fame of Alexander Kohut.

Gteorge Alexander Kohut.

Berlin, January 1897.

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Editor's Preface V— XIII

Alexander Kohut. Ein Charakterbild von Dr. Adolph Kohut XVII-XXXV
On Ancient Prayers (Extracts from Lectures delivered at Ox-
ford) by Prof. F. Max MiUler 1-41

Lapidarien, ein culturgeschichtlicbcr Versnch von Prof. Moritz

Steinschneider 42—72

The Cotton Grotto — an ancient Quarry in Jerusalem. With

notes on ancient methods of quarrying by Dr. Cyrus

Adler 73-82

Die POigl- Conjugation und die Pdlftl - Participien von Prof.

Dr. J. Barth 83-93

A Study of the use of ^h and 32^ in the Old Testament

by Prof. Charles A. Briggs, D. D 94-105

Die Ueberschrift des Buches Amos und des Propheten Heimat

von Prof. Dr. K. Budde 106—110

The Book of Psalms, its orgin, and its relation to Zoro-

astrianism by Prof. T. K. Cheyne 111-119

Le dieu Eimm5n sur une inscription himyarite par Prof.

Hartwig Derenbourg 120—125

Zur Bibel und Grammatik. 1. Kimchi oder Kamchi? 2. Er-

kiarung von Amos VI, 10 von Rev. Dr. B. Felsenthal . 126—138
Jehudah ha- Levi on the Hebrew language. Kuzri 11 § 67

to 80 by Rev. Dr. M. Friedlander 139-151

Spuren der paiastinisch-judischen Schriftdeutung und Sagen

in der tJebersetzung der LXX von Dr. Julius Fuerst . 152 — 166
The oldest version of Midrash Megillah published for the

first time from a unique ms. of the X^ century by Rev.

Dr. M. Gaster 167-178

Quotations from the Bible in the Qor&n and the Tradition

by Prof. M. J. de Goeje 179—185

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Translation of a Targum of the Amidah by Rev. Hermann

GoUancz, M. A 186-197

The Diction of Genesis VI-IX by Prof. W. H. Green . . 198—225

Kenan ilber die sp&teren Formen der hebr&ischen Sprache

von Dr. Max GrCUibaum 226-234

nb^*T] IX^yh ni*iyn by S. J. Halberstam 235—236

L'enterrement de Jacob d'apres la Genese par Prof. J.

Hal^vy 237-243

CnnDH 12-1 hv pwa nnyo 31 by Prof. A. Harkavy . . 244- 247
Notiz ilber einen dem Maim&ni untergeschobenen arabischen

Commentar zu Esther von Dr. Hartwig Hirschfeld . . 248—253
An analysis of Psalms LXXXIV and CI by Rev. Dr. Marcus

Online LibraryGeorge Alexander KohutSemitic studies in memory of Rev. Dr. Alexander Kohut → online text (page 1 of 55)