Berakhyah Ben Natronai ha-Nakdan, Sefer Ko’aḥ ha-Avanim (On the Virtue of the Stones). Hebrew Text and English Translation

With a Lexicological Analysis of the Romance Terminology and Source Study


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The lore of the supposed magic and medical virtue of stones goes back to the Babylonians and peaks out in the lapidary literature of the Middle Ages. The famous work of Marbode of Rennes, which made lapidaries a very popular type of medieval scientific literature, was translated into numerous vernacular languages. The Jewish tradition, missing a particular lapidary literature of its own, absorbed non-Jewish works like that of Marbode. Several Anglo-Norman Marbode translations could be identified as the main source of the present edited Hebrew lapidary Ko’aḥ ha-Avanim, written by Berakhyah Ben Natronai ha-Nakdan around 1300. The edition is accompanied by an English translation, a source study, and a linguistic analysis of the Romance, mostly Anglo-Norman, terms featuring within the text in Hebrew spelling.

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Gerrit Bos, Ph.D. (1989) in Semitic Studies, University of Amsterdam, is Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Cologne. He has published extensively on Arabic, Judeo-Arabic, and Hebrew scientific literature in the Middle Ages, including an edition and translation of Maimonides’ medical work.

Julia Zwink is scientific assistant at the Free University of Berlin, department of Romance languages. She is doing a Ph.D. on Judeo-French medical literature in the Middle Ages including an edition, translation, and linguistic study of an anonymous Judeo-French treatise on fever diseases.
The Author
Literary Activity
Sefer Ko"a.h ha-Avanim (On the Virtue of the Stones)
The Source(s) of Sefer Ko"a.h ha-Avanim (On the Virtue of the Stones)
The Critical Edition of Sefer Ko"a.h ha-Avanim

Text and Translation
Supplement A: Comparative Table
Supplement B:The Ko’a.h ha-Avanim in Its French Context:
Romance and Latin Terms and Sources
Lexicological Commentary on the Romance and Latin Terms
Berakhyah’s Sources
Tables of the Sources

Alphabetical Glossaries
Hebrew—French/Latin/Greek Glossary
French/Latin—Hebrew Glossary
Greek—Hebrew Glossary

All those interested in the history of medicine and lapidary literature, the cultural and scientific transfer between Orient and Occident, and historical lexicology of Judeo-Romance, notably French and Anglo-Norman.
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