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Šem Ṭov Ibn Falaqera’s Critique Of Poetry

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Chapter Summary

Šem Ṭov Ibn Falaqera wrote numerous works, all of which showed the importance of philosophy for understanding the Torah. He wrote an important commentary on selected passages from the Guide for the Perplexed and, like his spiritual teacher, Maimonides, sought to create a synthesis between Torah and philosophy. Among the medieval Jewish authors who criticized poetry, Falaqera seems to have been the most adamant of all. Particularly well-known is his satire on poetry in Sefer Ha-Mevaqqeš. But in order to understand his criticism it is important that to first take note of his compilation Rešit Ḥokhma, which contains numerous valuable references to the subject of poetry. Finally, the decline of Spanish Hebrew poetry, to the point of its almost complete disappearance, was the result of numerous factors, which are described in detail.

Keywords: Šem Ṭov Ibn Falaqera; Guide for the Perplexed; Maimonides; medieval Jewish authors; Resit Ḥokhma; Sefer Ha-Mevaqqeš; Spanish Hebrew poetry; Torah



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