From these earliest grammarians are derived many principles of arrangement and technical terms, some of which are still retained, e.g. the naming of the conjugations and weak verbs according to the paradigm of פעל, certain voces memoriales, as בְּגַדְכְּפַת and the like.
[e] 4. The father of Hebrew philology among Christians was John Reuchlin (ob. 1522), to whom Greek literature also is so much indebted. Like the grammarians who succeeded him, till the time of John Buxtorf the elder (ob. 1629), he still adhered almost entirely to Jewish tradition. From the middle of the seventeenth century the field of investigation gradually widened, and the study of the kindred languages, chiefly through the leaders of the Dutch school, Albert Schultens (ob. 1750) and N. W. Schröder (ob. 1798), became of fruitful service to Hebrew grammar.
[f] 5. In the nineteenth century the advances in Hebrew philology are especially connected with the names of W. Gesenius (born at Nordhausen, Feb. 3, 1786; from the year 1810 Professor at Halle, where he died Oct. 23, 1842), who above all things aimed at the comprehensive observation and lucid presentation of the actually occurring linguistic phenomena; H. Ewald (ob. 1875, at Göttingen; Krit. Gramm. der Hebr. Spr., Lpz. 1827; Ausführl. Lehrb. d. hebr. Spr., 8th ed., Gött. 1870), who chiefly aimed at referring linguistic forms to general laws and rationally explaining the latter; J. Olshausen (ob. 1882, at Berlin; Lehrb. der hebr. Sprache, Brunswick, 1861) who attempted a consistent explanation of the existing condition of the language, from the presupposed primitive Semitic forms, preserved according to him notably in old Arabic. F. Böttcher (Ausführl. Lehrb. d. hebr. Spr. ed. by F.Mühlau, 2 vols., Lpz. 1866–8) endeavoured to present an exhaustive synopsis of the linguistic phenomena, as well as to give an explanation of them from the sphere of Hebrew
- On the oldest Hebrew grammarians, see Strack and Siegfried, Lehrb. d. neuhebr. Spr. u. Liter., Carlsr. 1884, p. 107 ff., and the prefaces to the Hebrew Lexicons of Gesenius and Fürst; Berliner, Beiträge zur hebr. Gramm. im Talmud u. Midrasch, Berlin, 1879; Baer and Strack, Die Dikduke ha-teamim des Ahron ben Moscheh ben Ascher u. andere alte grammatisch-massorethische Lehrstücke, Lpz. 1879, and P. Kahle’s criticisms in ZDMG. lv. 170, n. 2; Ewald and Dukes, Beiträge z. Gesch. der ältesten Auslegung u. Spracherklärung des A.T., Stuttg. 1844, 3 vols.; Hupfeld, De rei grammaticae apud Judaeos initiis antiquissimisque scriptoribus, Hal. 1846; W. Bacher, ‘Die Anfänge der hebr. Gr.,’ in ZDMG. 1895, 1 ff. and 335 ff.; and Die hebr. Sprachwissenschaft vom 10. bis zum 16. Jahrh., Trier, 1892.
- A strong impulse was naturally given to these studies by the introduction of printing—the Psalter in 1477, the Bologna Pentateuch in 1482, the Soncino O.T. complete in 1488: see the description of the twenty-four earliest editions (down to 1528) in Ginsburg’s Introduction, p. 779 ff.
- Of the literature or the subject down to the year 1850, see a tolerably full account in Steinschneider’s Bibliogr. Handb. f. hebr. Sprachkunde, Lpz. 1859.