David Qimḥi’s Sefer ha-Shorashim providing, in alphabetical order, the roots of all the words present in the Hebrew Bible, has rapidly become an indispensable tool for the understanding of the sacred text, in the Jewish communities during the Middle ages, and later for the Christians Hebraists from the early Renaissance onwards. Although this work has been preserved in more than 80 manuscripts, to which one must add 150 fragments (from 1 to 70 folios) hosted by various libraries all over the world – an element which attests of a wide dissemination in Jewish centers during the medieval period –, no critical edition has ever been undertaken.
This project aims to better understand the transmission and the reception of a study tool which has fashioned the literal understanding of the Bible, as much among Jews as among Christians, until the nineteenth century. Three directions will be considered : facing each other, the critical edition of the Hebrew text based on the most reliable manuscripts and that of the Latin version which was undertaken by (or for) the Cardinal Giles of Viterbo ; a more specific work around the exogenous elements to the Hebrew text, the vernacular glosses, and finally the destiny and fortune of Sefer ha-Shorashim in both Jewish and Christian exegetical and theological literature. Beyond these electronic editions, the project aims at offering a contribution to the history of lexicography and to the history of textual traditions by allowing a virtual dialogue between the variants of Hebrew and Latin manuscripts, and the printed editions.