Immanuel ben Solomon

Immanuel ben Solomon,

c.1265–c.1330, Hebrew-Italian poet and scholar, b. Rome. He wrote biblical criticism and, in both Hebrew and Italian, satiric verse and lively stories. His work represents a synthesis of Jewish thought and reflects the spirit of Italian Renaissance. His collected poems were printed (1491) under the title Mahberoth Immanuel [the compositions of Immanuel]. His verse was notorious in his day and later for its satiric and erotic content. He introduced the Italian sonnet form into Hebrew poetry.
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Immanuel Ben Solomon


Born around 1268 in Rome; died around 1330 in Fermo. Hebrew poet.

Immanuel wrote in Arabic and Hebrew. He lived in Rome, studying philosophy, medicine, mathematics, and astronomy, and wrote extensive commentaries on the Old Testament. Under the influence of al-Kharizi he composed a large number of maqa-mas (a type of rhymed prose). Immanuel is primarily a lyric poet; however, many of his poems and novellas are filled with accusatory zeal and bitter satire: “I Would Prefer Hell to Heaven,” “A Learned Dispute With a Great Grammarian,” and Hell and Paradise (an imitation of Dante’s Divine Comedy). As a poet, he extolls love and nature, as in “A Girl Speaks,” “Joke,” and the sonnet “When People Plan to Sail the Seas.” The sonnets of Immanuel Ben Solomon are among the best medieval Hebrew poems; they were first published in 1491.


Makhborol. L’vov, 1870.


Zinberg, I. Di geshikhte fun der literatur bay Yidn, vol. 2, part 2, chap. 5. Vilnius, 1935.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Probably a wandering teacher by profession, Immanuel ben Solomon was a prolific writer of Hebrew verse, sacred and secular (some of the latter being highly erotic), which he collected within a rough narrative framework in Mahbarot `Imanu'el ("The Compositions of Immanuel"), published frequently after 1491.