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Abrâhâ'm Ibn 'Ezrâ
(1092 - January 28, 1167) Spain

Ibn Ezra

Scholar, poet, polygraph

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Rabbi Abrâhâ'm Ben Meïr Ibn 'Ezrâ (also known as Ibn 'Ezrâ, or Abenezra) was one of the most distinguished Jewish men of letters and writers of the Middle Ages.

He was born at Tudela, Emirate of Saragossa. He left his native land before 1140 and led until his death a life of restless wandering, which took him to North Africa, Egypt, Italy (Rome, Lucca, Mantua,Verona), Southern France(Narbonne, Beziers), Northern France (Dreux), England (London), and back again to the South of France. At several of these places he remained for some time and developed a rich literary activity.

In his native land he had already gained the reputation of a distinguished poet and thinker; but, apart from his poems, his works, which were all in the Hebrew language, were written in the second period of his life. With these works, which cover in the first instance the field of Hebrew philology and Biblical exegesis, he fulfilled the great mission of making accessible to the Jews of Christian Europe the treasures of knowledge enshrined in the works written in Arabic which he had brought with him from Spain.

One writing in particular, on the division and the reasons for the Biblical commandments, he wrote in 1158 for a London friend, Joseph ben Jacob. In his philosophical thought neo-platonic ideas prevail; and astrology also had a place in his view of the world. He also wrote various works on mathematical and astronomical subjects. Ibn Ezra died in Calahorra, Spain.

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