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Solomon ibn Gabirol (also Solomon ben Judah; Hebrew: שלמה בן יהודה אבן גבירולShlomo Ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol, pronounced [ʃe.loˈmo bɛn jɛ.huˈdaː ˈɪ.bn ˌga.bi.ˈrɒːl]; Arabic: أبو أيوب سليمان بن يحيى بن جبيرولAbu Ayyub Sulayman bin Yahya bin Jabirul, pronounced [æ.ˈbuː æj.juːb ˌsu.læj.ˈmæːnɪ bnɪ ˌjæ'ħjæː bnɪ dʒæ.biː.ˈruːl]) was an 11th-century Andalusian poet and Jewish philosopher in the Neo-Platonic tradition. He published over a hundred poems, as well as works of biblical exegesis, philosophy, ethics[1]:xxvii and satire.[1]:xxv One source credits ibn Gabirol with creating a golem,[2] possibly female, for household chores.[3]

In the 19th century it was discovered that medieval translators had Latinized Gabirol's name to Avicebron or Avencebrol and had translated his work on Jewish Neo-Platonic philosophy into a Latin form that had in the intervening centuries been highly regarded as a work of Islamic or Christian scholarship.[1]:xxxii[4] As such, ibn Gabirol is well known in the history of philosophy for the doctrine that all things, including soul and intellect, are composed of matter and form (“Universal Hylomorphism”), and for his emphasis on divine will.[3]

The Improvement of the Moral Qualities, originally written in Arabic under the title Islah al-Khlaq (Arabic: إصلاح الأخلاق‎), and later translated by Ibn Tibbon as (Hebrew: "תקון מדות הנפש"‎, pronounced [ti.'kun mi.ˈdot ha.ˈne.feʃ]) is an ethical treatise that has been called by Munk "a popular manual of morals."[This quote needs a citation] It was composed by Gabirol at Zaragoza in 1045, at the request of some friends who wished to possess a book treating of the qualities of man and the methods of effecting their improvement.[9]

The innovations in the work are

The innovations in the work are that it presents the principles of ethics independently of religious dogma and that it proposes that the five physical senses are emblems and instruments of virtue and vice, but not their agents; thus, a person's inclination to vice is subject to a person's will to change.[9] Gabirol presents a tabular diagram of the relationship of twenty qualities to the five senses, reconstructed at right,[9] and urges his readers to train the qualities of their souls unto good through self-understanding and habituation. He regards man's ability to do so as an example of divine benevolence.[9]

While this work of Gabirol is not widely studied in Judaism, it has many points in common with Bahya ibn Paquda's very popular[citation needed] work Chovot HaLevavot,[9] written in 1040, also in Zaragoza.

Mukhtar al-Jawahir (Arabic: مختار الجواهر‎), Mivchar HaPeninim (Hebrew: מבחר הפנינים‎. lit. "The Choice of Pearls"), an ethics work of sixty-four chapters, has been attributed to Gabirol since the 19th century, but this is doubtful.[16] It was originally published, along with a short commentary, in Soncino, Italy, in 1484, and has since been re-worked and re-published in many forms and abridged editions (e.g. Joseph Ḳimcḥi versified the work under the title "Shekel ha-Kodesh").[9]

The work is a collection of maxims, proverbs, and moral reflections, many of them of Arabic origin, and bears a strong similarity to the Florilegium of Hunayn ibn Ishaq and other Arabic and Hebrew collections of ethics sayings, which were highly prized by both Arabs and Jews.[9]

Poetry

Gabirol wrote both sacred and secular poems, in Hebrew, and was recognized even by his critics (e.g. Moses ibn Ezra and Yehuda Alharizi) as the greatest poet of his age.[1]:xxii His secular poems express disillusionment with social mores and worldliness, but are written with a sophistication and artistry that reveals him to have been socially influenced by his worldly Arabic contemporaries.[7]

Ga

The work is a collection of maxims, proverbs, and moral reflections, many of them of Arabic origin, and bears a strong similarity to the Florilegium of Hunayn ibn Ishaq and other Arabic and Hebrew collections of ethics sayings, which were highly prized by both Arabs and Jews.[9]

Gabirol wrote both sacred and secular poems, in Hebrew, and was recognized even by his critics (e.g. Moses ibn Ezra and Yehuda Alharizi) as the greatest poet of his age.[1]:xxii His secular poems express disillusionment with social mores and worldliness, but are written with a sophistication and artistry that reveals him to have been socially influenced by his worldly Arabic contemporaries.[7]

Gabirol's lasting poetic legacy, however, was his sacred works. Today, "his religious lyrics are considered by many to be the most powerful of their kind in the medieval Hebrew tradition, and his long cosmological masterpiece, Keter Malchut, is acknowledged today as one of the greatest poems in

Gabirol's lasting poetic legacy, however, was his sacred works. Today, "his religious lyrics are considered by many to be the most powerful of their kind in the medieval Hebrew tradition, and his long cosmological masterpiece, Keter Malchut, is acknowledged today as one of the greatest poems in all of Hebrew literature."[6] His verses are distinctive for tackling complex metaphysical concepts, expressing scathing satire, and declaring his religious devotion unabashedly.[6]

Gabirol wrote with a pure Biblical Hebrew diction that would become the signature style of the Spanish school of Hebrew poets,[9] and he popularized in Hebrew poetry the strict Arabic meter introduced by Dunash ben Labrat. Abraham ibn Ezra[17] calls Gabirol, not ben Labrat, "the writer of metric songs," and in Sefer Zaḥot uses Gabirol's poems to illustrate various poetic meters.[9]

He wrote also more than one hundred piyyuṭim and selichot for the Sabbath, festivals, and fast-days, most of which have been included in the Holy Day prayer books of Sephardim, Ashkenazim, and even Karaites.[9] Some of his most famous in liturgical use include the following:[8]

Gabirol's most famous poem is Keter Malchut (lit. Royal Crown), which, in 900 lines, describes the cosmos as testifying to its own creation by God, based upon the then current (11th-century) scientific understanding of the cosmos.

Gabirol's poetry has been set to music by the modern composer Aaron Jay Kernis, in an album titled "Symphony of Meditations." [18]

In 2007 Gabirol's poetry has been set to music by the Israeli rock guitarist Aaron Jay Kernis, in an album titled "Symphony of Meditations." [18]

In 2007 Gabirol's poetry has been set to music by the Israeli rock guitarist Berry Sakharof and the Israeli modern composer Rea Mochiach, in a piece titled "Red Lips" ("Adumey Ha-Sefatot" "אֲדֻמֵּי הַשְּׂפָתוֹת") [19]