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IBN EZRA, ABRAHAM (1092-1167).

Hebrew poet, philosopher, and Bible commentator. Born in Toledo, Spain, he traveled widely, visiting Italy, France, England, North Africa, and the Middle East. Ibn Ezra contributed greatly to the spread of Arab-Jewish culture among Western European Jews. He suffered poverty and often complained bitterly about his situation in biting satirical poems. His Bible commentaries are distinguished by their logical and penetrating interpretation of biblical language and content. Also of considerable importance are his books on mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, and Hebrew grammar. Ibn Ezra’s grammatical works were translated into Latin. In contrast to most of the Jewish scholars in Spain, he wrote in Hebrew, not Arabic. As a poet, Abraham Ibn Ezra did not measure up to the stature of the great Hebrew masters during the “Golden Age” in Spain. Yet some of his liturgical poems possess depth of feeling. He composed remarkable hymns on creation and on the qualities of angels. His poetic darts of ridicule and wit strike at the root of human weaknesses. Ibn Ezra’s contrasting qualities are revealed in his truly moving religious poetry on the one hand, and the rhymed riddles and puzzles

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