Concept

Solomon ibn Gabirol

Summary
Solomon ibn Gabirol or Solomon ben Judah (Shlomo Ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol, ʃ(e)loˈmo ben jehuˈda ʔibn ɡabiˈʁol; ’Abū ’Ayyūb Sulaymān bin Yaḥyá bin Jabīrūl, ˈʔæbuː ʔæjˈjuːb sʊlæjˈmæːn bɪn ˈjæħjæː bɪn dʒæbiːˈruːl) 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 and satire. One source credits ibn Gabirol with creating a golem, possibly female, for household chores. 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. 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. Little is known of Gabirol's life, and some sources give contradictory information. Sources agree that he was born in Málaga, but are unclear whether in late 1021 or early 1022 CE. The year of his death is a matter of dispute, with conflicting accounts having him dying either before age 30 or by age 48. Gabirol lived a life of material comfort, never having to work to sustain himself, but he lived a difficult and loveless life, suffering ill health, misfortunes, fickle friendships, and powerful enemies. From his teenage years, he suffered from some disease, possibly lupus vulgaris, that would leave him embittered and in constant pain. He indicates in his poems that he considered himself short and ugly. Of his personality, Moses ibn Ezra wrote: "his irascible temperament dominated his intellect, nor could he rein the demon that was within himself. It came easily to him to lampoon the great, with salvo upon salvo of mockery and sarcasm." He has been described summarily as "a social misfit.
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