Jewish physician and one of the first scholars to make a comparative study of the Hebrew and Arabic languages. He practiced medicine at the Fatamid court of al-Qayrawan, (now in Tunisia) and, like other educated Jewish people of his time, was versed in Hebrew. The work for which he is best known was written in Arabic, but the original was lost and it is known only in its Hebrew translation. In it he advanced the vieww that Hebrew is an older language than Arabic, which he also considered to be a corruption of Hebrew. He was frequently quoted by Muslim writers.
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