Samuel Ibn Tibbon's Commentary on Ecclesiastes: The Book of the Soul of Man
Mohr Siebeck, 2007 - 660 pages
Samuel Ibn Tibbon (c. 1165-1232) - the eminent translator, philosopher, and exegete - is most famous for his Hebrew translation of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed . However, he wrote original works as well, and laid the foundations for a distinctive philosophical-exegetical movement, what is today called 'Maimonideanism'. James T. Robinson's book includes a first English translation of Ibn Tibbon's commentary on Ecclesiastes, which was the foundational work of the Maimonidean tradition. The translation, with full annotation, is accompanied by an introduction, which provides relevant historical, philosophical and exegetical background, explains difficult passages, and identifies Ibn Tibbon's important contributions to the emergence of Maimonideanism. The author analyzes Ibn Tibbon's sources and influences (in Jewish philosophy and exegesis and in Graeco-Arabic philosophy, especially al-Farabi and Averroes), discusses his theory and method of exegesis, and explains the main arguments and allegories of the work which relate to the problem of human perfection. Responding to and developing the various positions of his time - especially the infamous view of al-Farabi that immortality of the soul is nothing but an old wife's tale - Ibn Tibbon argues that conjunction with the active intellect is possible but rare: only one man in a thousand can attain it. Thus, while the elite few should pursue it - through a life of study and contemplation - the many should focus on perfection in this world: they should eat, drink, and show the soul good.
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Reference Tools and Study Aids
Aristotle and the Arabic Aristotelians
Abraham Ibn Ezra accident according agent intellect al-Fārābī allegory alludes already Arabic Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle's Averroes Avicenna beast beginning biblical body book’s called cause celestial cited in Guide commentary on Ecclesiastes contrary corruption death discussion dispositions earth eating the tree Eccl especially eternal ethics everything evil exegesis exegetes existence explained fool garden of Eden Gersonides give heart heavens Hebrew human Ibn Ezra Ibn Ghiyath Ibn Tibbon interpretation introduce Jacob Anatoli king labor light live Ma'amar Yiqqawu ha-Mayim Maimonides man’s matter meaning mentioned midrash Mishnah Moses motion namely nature opinion perfection philosophical possible preface previous verse Prov Proverbs purpose Qohelet rabbinic refers relation respect righteous Saadia Gaon Samuel Ibn Tibbon says seems Solomon someone Song of Songs sons soul sublunar syllogism term things tion Torah tradition translation Treatise tree of knowledge True Sage understand understood vanity wisdom wise woman words