Penini, Jedaja, Ben-abraham Bedrashi

Penini, Jedaja, Ben-Abraham Bedrashi a Hebrew poet of much celebrity, and a writer of great originality and research, was born at Barcelona, in Spain, in 1280, and died about 1340. He is the author of a few poetical compositions, which are more esteemed for the ingenuity and studied labor of which they bear the marks than for any intrinsic poetical merit. For instance, in one of these poems every word begins with the letter M. He has a better right to the title of "Orator" given him by his brethren, while Christian writers have compared him to Seneca, Lactantius, and Cicero. He owes this honor to his celebrated work entitled בּחַינִת עוֹלָם (Bechinath Olam), "Examination of the World," a discourse or letter concerning the vanity of all earthly things, and the seeking of the kingdom of God. The learned Philip Aquinas, an Israelite converted to Christianity in the 17th century, wrote a French translation of itn, L'Examen du Monde (Paris, 1629). Great praise has been bestowed on the work itself, and the way in which it is treated by its French translator, as well as by Buxtorf, who speaks of it as of "liber insignis tam quoad res, quam quoad verba, ut eloquentissimus habeatur, quisquis stylum ejus imitatur." It was also translated into German by different translators, and into English in 1806, and lately in the Hebrew Review, edited by M. I. Raphall (Lond. 1835), 1:135 sq. Being a great advocate of philosophical studies, Penini vehemently opposed the sentence of excommunication pronounced by Ibn-Adereth, which forbade the study of philosophical works (excepting medicine) before the age of twenty-five years, and addressed a letter to him כּתָב הִהַתנִצּלוּת, "Defence of the Study of Philosophy." He also wrote, לשׁוֹן הִזָּהָב, "the Wedge of Gold," annotations on the Talmudic exposition of the Psalms (Midrash Tehillim): — An elucidation of Ibn-Ezra's "Exposition on the Pentateuch" — The above-mentioned poem, a prayer in verse, every line commencing with the letter מ, entitled בִקָשִׁת הִמֵּמַין, translated into Latin by H. Prache (Leips. 1662), and into German by D. Ottenrosser (q.v.), Furth (1808), and B. W. Prerau (Vienna, 1803): — A commentary on the Psalms: — Compendium of the canons of Avicenna: — Annotations on the Talmudic treatises Midrash Rabboth, Tanchum, and Siphre: — Treatise on the intellect and imagination: — "The Selection of Pearls," a collection of didactic sayings from the Greek and Arabic sages, since translated from the Arabic by rabbi Judah Ibn-Tibbon (q.v.). He is also said to have composed a work of some extent on the game of chess, under the title of מִעֲדִנֵּי מֶלֶך, "the Royal Delight." See Furst, Bibl. Judaica, 3:71 sq.; De Rossi, Dizionario storico degli autori Ebrei (Ger. transl. by Hamburger), p. 257 sq.; Wolf, Bibl. Tiebr. 3:291; Gratz, Gesch. der Juden (Leips. 1873), 7:260 sq.; Jost, Gesch. d. Judenth. u. s. Sekten, 3:29; Zunz, Zur Geschichte u. Literatur (Berlin, 1845), p. 467 sq.; id. Literaturgeschichte der synaagogalen Poesie

(ibid. 1865), p. 498; Lindo, History of the Jews in Spain and Portugal p. 112 sq.; Finn, Sephardim, p. 302 sq.; Da Costa, Israel and the Gentiles, p. 302 sq.; Etheridge, Introduction to Hebrew Literature, p. 266; Ginsburg, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, p. 61, where a few pieces of the Bechinath Olam are translated (Lond. 1861); Delitzsch, Zur Gesch. de jiidischen Poesie (Leips. 1836), p. 348; Cassel, Leitfaden fur jud. Geschichte und Literatur (Berlin, 1872), p. 70. (B. P.)

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