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Hebrew Poems from Spain$
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David Goldstein

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113669

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113669.001.0001

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Abraham Ibn Ezra

Abraham Ibn Ezra

(p.121) Abraham Ibn Ezra
Hebrew Poems from Spain

David Goldstein

Liverpool University Press

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.

Keywords:   Abraham Ibn Ezra, Spanish Jews, poetry schools, astrology, satire, Hebrew poets, Spanish Hebrew poetry, religious humility, Jewish poet, Jewish poetry

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