Abraham Ibn Ezra
Abraham Ibn Ezra
This chapter examines the poetry of Abraham Ibn Ezra. Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra was born in Tudela. His birth may be dated in 1092, and it is possible that he met Judah ha-Levi in Southern Spain some time before they both left that country in 1140. Abraham Ibn Ezra did not set out for Palestine, but journeyed first to Rome. Subsequently, one sees him in Lucca, Pisa, Mantua, Béziers, Narbonne, Bordeaux, Angers, Rouen, and London. In all these places, he endeavoured to bring the culture of the Spanish Jews to those living in Italy, France, and England, and it is primarily due to him that schools of poetry began to flourish in Italy and Provence, which took the Spanish achievement as their model. He was a master of many skills — a mathematician, astronomer, grammarian, and philosopher, as well as a fine expounder of the Biblical text. In contradistinction to many contemporary Jewish thinkers, he was a firm believer in astrology. Ultimately, his humour and satire bring a new note into the poetry of the Spanish school of Hebrew poets. This must be seen against the background of his religious humility before the Creator, which is expressed in some of his finest work.
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