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Abraham ibn Ezra
(1089 - January 23 or 28, 1164) Spain

Abraham ibn Ezra

Poet, rabbi


Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra also known as Abenezra or Aben Ezra, was born in Tudela, in the present-day Spanish province of Navarre, and died apparently in Calahorra. He was one of the most distinguished Jewish biblical commentators and philosophers of the Middle Ages.

Abraham Ibn Ezra was born in Tudela when the town was under the Muslim rule of the emirs of Zaragoza. Later he lived in Córdoba. In Granada, it is said, he met his future friend (and perhaps his father-in-law) Yehuda Halevi. He left Spain before 1140 to escape persecution of the Jews by the new fanatical regime of the Almohads.

He led a life of restless wandering, which took him to North Africa, Egypt (in 1109, maybe in the company of Yehuda Halevi), the Land of Israel, Italy (Rome in 1140 - 1143, Lucca, Mantua, Verona), Southern France (Narbonne, Béziers), Northern France (Rouen), England (London, and Oxford in 1158), and back again to Narbonne in 1161, until his death. The exact location is unknown: maybe at Calahorra at the border of Navarre and Aragon, or maybe in Rome or in the Holy Land. There is a legend that he died in England from a fever and a sickness that came upon him after an encounter with a pack of wild black dogs. This legend is attached to the belief that he denied the existence of demons.

The crater Abenezra on the Moon was named in his honor.

There are a great many poems by Ibn Ezra, some of them religious (the editor of the "Diwan" in an appended list mentions nearly 200 numbers) and some secular - about love, friendship, wine, didactic or satirical. Like his friend Yehuda Halevi, he used the Arabic poetic form of Muwashshah. His relative Moses ibn Ezra was also a famous poet. See their pages on our "Homoerotic Poetry" section.


Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia et alii

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