BEN ḤAYYIM (Goldmann), ZE'EV


BEN ḤAYYIM (Goldmann), ZE'EV (1907– ), Hebrew scholar and linguist. Born in Mościska, Galicia, he emigrated to Palestine in 1931 and in 1934 became secretary of the Va'ad ha-Lashon. In 1948 he was appointed lecturer (1955, professor) of Hebrew language at the Hebrew University and in 1961 was elected vice president of the *Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem and in December 1973 was appointed its president, succeeding the late Prof. Naphtali *Tur-Sinai.

Ben Ḥayyim specialized in the Samaritan Hebrew dialect, literature, etc., on which he published Ivrit ve-Aramit Nusaḥ Shomeron ("The Literary and Oral Tradition of Hebrew and Aramaic among the Samaritans," 5 vols., 1957–77; volume 5 was translated and slightly updated as A Grammar of Samaritan Hebrew, 2000) and Tevat MarkaAsuppat Midrashim Shomroniyyim, 1988. In these books, he discusses the evolution and historical development of the Samaritan languages (Hebrew and Aramaic), starting from their earliest literary sources through the linguistic tradition preserved in the modern idioms. They contributed not only to the recognition of these particular dialects, but also to the clarification of important aspects of the history of the Hebrew and Aramaic languages and their development.

In his pamphlet Lashon Attikah bi-Meẓi'ut Ḥadasha ("Ancient Language in a New Reality," 1953) he deals with problems of the growth and development of modern Hebrew as the living language in the State of Israel. This article was republished along with most of his articles on modern Hebrew during the long period of his activity at the Academy in Be-Milhamtah shel Lashon, 1992. He was the editor of the historical dictionary of the Hebrew language – one of the major projects of the Academy. He also edited Hebrew dictionaries containing modern Hebrew terms in the fields of mathematics, anatomy, technology, etc., and contributed articles to leading linguistic journals on problems of Hebrew grammar and on the systems of Hebrew grammarians. Ben Ḥayyim was the Encyclopaedia Judaica's divisional editor for Hebrew and Semitic languages. He received the Israel Prize in 1964. A full list of Ben Ḥayyim's works and scientific publications appeared in Leshonenu (vol. 32, Tishri–Tevet 1967/68), the publication of the Academy, edited by Ben Ḥayyim from 1955 to 1965; updated in Leshonenu 65 (2003), 201–26 with an assessment of his scientific achievements, ibid., p. 227–38.


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