Ibn Gabirol, Solomon ben Judah

Ibn Gabirol, Solomon ben Judah

(ĭ`bən gäbē`rôl), c.1021–1058, Jewish poet and philosopher, known also as Avicebron, b. Malaga. His secular poetry deals partly with nature and love, but most of it reveals a gloom and bitterness engendered by his tragic life. Orphaned early, he spent much of his life contending with mediocre rivals and critics jealous of his scholarship. It is thought that he was murdered by a rival. Ibn Gabriol's religious poetry is filled with a mystic awe of God, and much of it has been incorporated into the Judaic liturgy. His great philosophical work, The Well of Life, showing the influence of Neoplatonism, was written in Arabic. In its Latin translation (Fons vitae), it exercised a great influence on Christian thought. The book is an attempt to explain the universality of matter, man's purpose in life, and the communion of man's soul with the spiritual sources that created it. His hundreds of poems and his book of ethics, The Improvement of the Moral Qualities, were also important.

Bibliography

See study by A. Cohen (1925).

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