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What is the source for the idea that all matter is either domem (lifeless), tzomeach (plant), chai (animal), or medaber (speaker)?

I sometimes find this quoted places (in articles and divrei Torah), but have not been able to find a source? Is it a Gemara? A Midrash? A Chasidic teaching?

I even found this, where the Vilna Gaon says "it is known": http://dafyomireview.com/article.php?docid=270&style=print

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The concept definitely dates back at least to the early 16th century. Rav Yosef Alashkar discusses it; so does the Shla"h a bit later on. –  Fred May 4 '12 at 0:02
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And more seriously: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  Double AA May 4 '12 at 0:13
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@Fred: it goes back even further - Rabbeinu Bechayei refers to this division in his commentary to Ex. 34:35, and he also says that "it is known." –  Alex May 4 '12 at 0:26
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@jake: Interesting. This idea seems to be alluded to in R' Saadia Gaon's Emunos V'Deos (Ma'amar 3), as well. (Maybe there's now enough in the comments for someone to post an answer?) –  Fred May 4 '12 at 1:02

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