Buxtorf, John

, the son of the preceding, was born at Basil, in 1599, and became professor of the Oriental language there, with no less taste and skill in the Hebrew and the Rabbins, than his father. He translated some Rabbins, and among others, the “Moreh Nevochim” of Maimonides, and the book entitled Cosri. He also writ upon the Hebrew, Chaldaic, and Syriac grammars. His Hebrew Concordance is much esteemed; and being heir of his father’s opinion as well as Jewish literature, he has defended the antiquity of the points and vowels of the Hebrew text against Lewis Capellus, in a book entitled “Tractatus de punctorum vocalium & accentuum in libris Veteris Testamenti Hebraicis origine, antiquitate, & auctoritate,Basil, 1648. There is a great number of passages of the Rabbins cited in this book. He has also written another book, much more valuable, against the critiques of the said Ludovicus Capellus, with this title: “Anticritica; seu vindiciæ veritatis Hebraicæ adversus | Ludovici Capelli criticam, quam vocat sacram,Basil, 1653. He composed several dissertations upon different matters relating to the Jewish literature, in which he excelled; and died in 1664.

Many learned men, who admire the rabbinical excellence of these two great men, are not always satisfied with their judgment. They believe these authors too much led by the Rabbins; and that Capellus, though not so deep in Hebrew, has written more judiciously upon this argument. They add, that the strong fancy which a great part of the German and Geneva divines have for the Hebrew points, proceeds in good measure from the regard they had for the two Buxtorfs, whose opinions they implicitly followed. Father Simon has spoken but slightly of them: “The two Buxtorfs,” says he, “who have got much reputation, especially among the Protestants, have in most of their works, only shewn themselves extremely prejudiced in favour of the Rabbins, without paving consulted any other authors.” But Buxtorf the father received the highest encomiums from all the learned of his time. In particular, Gerard Vossius, in the funeral oration which he made for Erpenius, says, that “Europe had not a more knowing and learned man, nor one who was better versed in the Rabbins, and in such books as related to the Talmud, than Buxtorf.Joseph Scaliger goes farther, and says, that Buxtorfought to be considered as the master of the Rabbins. He declares him to be the only man who understood the Hebrew language thoroughly; and that notwithstanding his grey beard, he would gladly be his scholar;” which was the highest compliment that could be paid to so young a man as Buxtorf then was. Isaac Casaubon entertained exactly the same opinion of him as Scaliger; and adds, that “there is a great deal of candour, and an air of honesty, which runs through all Jiis writings.1

1 MoreriDict. Hist. Freheri Theatrum, —Saxii Onomast.