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Abraham Kahana

KAHANA, ABRAHAM (1874–1946), biblical scholar and historian. Kahana, who was born in Skomorochy, Russia, was self-educated and started writing on Jewish subjects at an early date. In 1923 he emigrated to Palestine where he engaged in teaching and also served as librarian at the Sha'ar Zion library in Tel Aviv. From 1903 onward, he edited the Hebrew Bible, with a critical commentary and introductions (Perush Madda'i), he himself being responsible for Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The project, with which H.P. *Chajes, A. *Kaminka, S. *Krauss, F. Perles, M.L. Margolis, and others were associated, was, however, not completed. Kahana also edited the two-volume *Apocrypha (1936–37), which went through many reprints. He translated part of the Greek text into Hebrew, added commentary and introductions to each book, and took care of a considerable number of the apocryphal and pseudepigraphical books himself. Kahana wrote the introduction to D. Ginzburg's edition of the Mantua version of *Josippon (1896–1913). His historical writings include: Korot ha-Yehudim be-Roma (1901, 19142; "History of the Jews in Rome") based on the works of A. *Berliner and that of H. *Vogelstein and P. *Rieger; a biography in Hebrew of M.Ḥ. *Luzzatto (1898); an edition of Leone de *Modena's autobiography (1912); and an edition of the travel diary of David *Reuveni (1922). Kahana also published a two-volume historical anthology, Sifrut ha-Historyah ha-Yisre'elit (1922–23), and an anthology on Ḥasidism, Sefer ha-Ḥasidut (1922). His interest in the ḥasidic movement is also shown by his biography of Israel b. Eliezer Ba'al Shem Tov (1900) and his edition of Sippurei Ma'asiyyot shel R. Naḥman mi-Bratslav (1922). Kahana's contribution to linguistics consisted of a Hebrew grammar (1931), a translation into Hebrew of S.D. Luzzatto's grammar (1899, repr. 1944), and a Russian-Hebrew dictionary (1907, 19194).


Alon, Meḥkarim, 2 (1958), 137ff.; Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 132–3.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.