Ezra, Moses Ibn, Ben Jacob

Ezra, Moses ibn-, ben Jacob a Jewish writer, was born about 1070, and died about 1139. He is considered one of the most finished of Hebrew poets, but is equally celebrated as a Talmudist and 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, which in later times was even acknowledged by Alexander von Humboldt (Cosmos, 3, page 119), who praised his sublime description of natural scenery. His works are remarkable not only for the intrinsic excellence of the matter, but also for the purity, sweetness, and aesthetic grace of their style. His selichoth, or penitential hymns, are greatly esteemed by the Jews, who give to Ibn-Ezra the epithet of has-salach, or the "selichoth poet," par excellence. He wrote hymns for festival and other occasions, entitled זמירות ותחנונים, in the Sephardim ritual: — Diwan R.M. ben-Ezra, a collection of poems, lyrical, occasional, and devotional: — Sefer ha-tarshish, or Sefer Anak, Be ס8 התרשיש or ס8 ענק; this poem is called Tarshish, from the number of its stanzas — 1210: Sefer Arugath Hab-bosem, ס8 ערגת הבשם, the "Garden of Spices," on the philosophy of religion, after the manner of Saadiah's Emunoth, in seven chapters, fragments of which have been published by Dukes, after a Hamburg MS. in Zion 2, page 117 (Frankfort- on-the-Main, 1842, 1843): — Tokacha, תוכחה, a penitential hymn, reprinted by Asker, in his Book of Life, with an English translation (Lond. 1849). See Fiirst, Bibl. Jud. 1:257 sq.; De' Rossi, Dizionario Storico (Germ. transl.), page 11; Gratz, Geschichte der Juden, 6:123 sq.; Delitzsch, Zur Geschichte der jud. Poesie, pages 45, 168; Jost, Gesch. d. Juden. u.s. Sekten, 2:414; Sachs, Religiose Poesie der Juden, page 69 sq., 276 sq.; Zunz, Literaturgeschichte der synag. Poesie, pages 202, 412, 585, 614; Synagogale Poesie, pages 21, 133, 228 sq.; Kimchi, Liber Radicum (ed. Biesenthal and Lebrecht), page 36 sq.; Kampf, Nichtandalusische Poesie andalusischer Dichter, pages 192-216; Dukes, Moses ben-Ezra (Altona, 1839); Rabbinische Blumenlese, page 58. (B.P.)

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