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“The Types of Wisdom Are Two in Number”: Judah ibn Tibbon’s Quotation from the Iḥyā’ ‘ulūm al-Dīn

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Abstract The present study bears out an early twentieth-century suggestion that the twelfth-century Andalusi physician, translator, merchant and lexicographer Judah ibn Tibbon quoted directly from the Iḥyā’ ‘ulūm al-dīn, the theological magnum opus of Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, in the ethical will he wrote to his son Samuel. In addition to demonstrating, through a consideration of lexicographical evidence, that a sentence from that summa was indeed quoted, in Hebrew translation, in the text of the ethical will, the present article will set that quotation into its context as a part of the Tibbonid drive toward literal, word-for-word translation from Arabic into Hebrew. It will further consider the significance of the authorial decision by Judah ibn Tibbon, who fled Granada for Provence following the advent of Almohad rule in Iberia to include, alongside Andalusi sources, direct quotation from al-Ghazālī, a text that formed part of the intellectual underpinning of the Almohad movement.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Spanish and Portuguese, New York University 13-19 University Place, Room 425, New York, NY 10003 USA


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