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C. 910 - C. 970 MENAHEM BEN JACOB SARUQ(Saruk) (Spain)

Lexicographer, philologist and poet. His lexicon of the bible (Machberet) became the first Hebrew-language dictionary. His work was vociferously criticized by Dunash ben Labrat. Saruq was so vilified that he lost the patronage of Hasdai ibn Shaprut, for whom he had written the letter to the Khazars. He was defended by his students including Judah ibn David Hayyug, who later correctly defined the Hebrew triliteral (three letter) root system. The biblical commentator Rashi refers to him as a philological authority and often quotes him.rnrn


912 - 970 HASDAI IBN SHAPRUT (Spain)

Physician to Abd Al(ar)-Rahman III and Al Hakam II, Umayyad rulers in Cordova. Hasdai spoke numerous language including Latin, Arabic and the Spanish of the time and also served Abd al Rahman as a diplomat and interpreter. He co -translated Dioscorides' work on botany, from the Greek. In 957 he cured the King of León, Sancho el Craso (Sancho the Fat), of obesity which won him the further appreciation of the Caliph. He used his position to help and protect his fellow Jews, including those in Byzantium. Hasdai made contact with Joseph, King of the Khazars. Together with Moses ben Hanoch, he founded the Talmudic school in Cordova. As the role and importance of Sura academy grew weaker, Hasdai purchased part of the library and had it transferred to Córdoba. The Cordova school's influence was felt in Spain for 350 years.


913 - 982 SHABBETAI (Abraham) DONNOLO (Italy)

Earliest Jewish author on medicine. His manuscript, Sepher Hamirkachot (or Sefer Hayakar) (Book of Remedies), is based on vegetarian preparations in the Greek tradition. Despite his reputation, his friend St. Nilus refused to use his medicine lest it be said that a Jew cured him. Donnolo was also a noted astrologer and composed a commentary on the mystical Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Creation) called Tachkemoni in which he discussed the mystical significance of the Hebrew letters as well his reasons against discussing the "image of God".




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