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Solomon ibn Gabirol: A Poet of Strife and Devotion

Hosted By: The National Library of Israel (NLI)

Solomon Ibn Gabirol, who just celebrated his 1000th birthday, was an enigmatic figure. A genius poet as well as a raging teenager. A poor, sick and orphaned young man who could not tolerate the gap between his incredible intellectual and spiritual abilities and his unfortunate physical state and lowly social situation. A ‘universal’ Neoplatonist philosopher whose theoretical works concerning God and His creation gained popularity only in Latin translation within the Catholic Church. Ibn Gabirol is considered the great renovator of Jewish liturgy in the ‘Golden Age’ of Muslim Spain. Though he was banished from the Jewish community of Saragossa, his liturgical poems are sung to this day in every Sephardi synagogue. In this lecture, we will discuss this extraordinary figure and read some of his wonderful poetry.

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