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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Moses Ibn-Ezra Ben-Jacob of Granada

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a Jewish writer of note, was born in Spain about 1070, and was descended from a family which once held noble rank in Jerusalem. He was equally celebrated as a learned Talmudist and a professor of Greek philosophy. Although, like his brother poets, he excelled in sacred song, he also tuned his. lyre as an inhabitant of the West, and sang at times of love, but more often in praise of the beauties of nature. He was a contemporary of the celebrated rabbi Jehudah ben-Samuel ha-Levi (q.v.), who bestowed due meed of praise upon him and some other members of his noble and learned family. As a poet, Moses ibn-Ezra won the honor of being considered one of the most finished Hebrew writers. His works are remarkable not only for the intrinsic excellence of the matter, but for the purity, sweetness, and aesthetic grace of their style. Alexander von Humboldt, in his Cosmos, 2:119, praises Moses ibn-Ezra's sublime description of natural scenery. The Selichoth, or penitential hymns, are greatly esteemed by the Jews, who give to Ibn-Ezra the epithet of Hassalach (הִסִּלָח ), or "the Selichoth poet" par excellence. He died about 1139. Moses ibn-Ezra wrote זְמַרוֹת וְתִחֵנוּנַים, Hymns for Festival and other Occasions, in the Sephardim Ritual: Dirvan R.M. ben-Ezra, a collection in 2 parts, miscellaneous and religious: סֵ הִתִּרְשַׁישׁ, also סֵ עִנָק ; this poem is called Tarshish from the number of its stanzas, 1210, expressed by the numerical value of the letters תרשיש : סֵ עִרֻגִּת הִבּשֶֹׁם, The Garden of Spices, on the philosophy of religion, in 7 parts: תּוֹכָחָה, a penitential poem. He also wrote on eloquence and poetry, with an Arabic paraphrase; also a philosophical treatise, still unprinted. Extensive specimens of his writings are given in L. Dukes's Moses ibn Ezra (Altona, 1839). See also Sachs, Religiose Poesie der Juden in Spanien, pages 69-82, 310-319; Kampf, Nichtandalusische Poesie Andalusischer Dichter (Prague, 1858), pages 213-240; Zunz, Synagogal Poesie, pages 21, 133, 228-230. See also Fiirst, Biblioth. Judaica, 1:257 sq.; Gratz, Gesch. der Juden, 6:123-127; Braunschweiger, Die Juden in den roman. Staaten, pages 62-64; Finn, Sephardim, page 174; Lindo, Jews in Spain, page 55; Da Costa, Israel and the Gentiles, page 291; Margoliouth, Modern Judaism Investigated, page 243; Etheridge, Introd. to Hebrew Literature, page 351 sq.; Zunz, Literaturgesch. z. Synagogalen Poesie, pages 210, 412, 585, 614; Nachtrag dazu, pages 8, 33; Jost, Geschichte d. Judenthums u. s. Sekten, 2:414 sq.; Dukes, Rabbinische Blumenlese, page 58; Delitzsch, Zur Gesch. d. Jud. Poesie, 45, 168; Gratz, Leket Schoschanim Blumenlese neuhebr. Dichtungen (Breslau, 1862), page 56 sq.; De Rossi, Dizionario (Germ. transl.), page 11; Kimchi, Liber Radicum (ed. Biesenthal et Lebrecht, Berlin, 1847), page 36. (B.P.)

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Moses Ibn-Ezra Ben-Jacob of Granada'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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