Translated for the first time, with annotations and useful additions, this long under-appreciated work of S. D. Luzzatto is now available to modern scholars. A history of both Hebrew and Hebrew scholarship, it is replete with valuable information and insight.
6 x 9
First published in 1836,
Prolegomeni ad una grammatica ragionata della lingua ebraica is perhaps the most important grammatical work of the influential Italian scholar, Samuel David Luzzatto (1800-1865). Never reprinted and never before fully translated, this long-inaccessible work has become almost unknown. This book, which was intended to serve as an introduction to a comprehensive grammar of Hebrew, treats the history of Hebrew in a variety of ways. Luzzatto begins with a history of Hebrew scholarship, from Talmudic times through the early nineteenth century, including both Jewish and Christian grammarians. Following this wide-ranging survey, which has yet to be superseded, is a brief history of the Hebrew language itself, from its origins to its later manifestations. The remainder of the book is comprised of chapters on various linguistic phenomena of both Hebrew and Aramaic. Among the subjects treated are the nature of the Hebrew and Aramaic vowels (including Syriac), the development of the pointing tradition, and an important treatment of the accentual system. In each of its various chapters, the book is replete with information and innovative insight that is still valuable to the modern scholar. Moreover, in addition to the translation and copious annotations, the translator has added an appendix containing biographical sketches of the roughly 275 Hebrew scholars mentioned by Luzzatto. The book will be of great use to anyone interested in the Hebrew language and its fascinating history.