c. 1110-c. 1180. Spanish historian. Ibn Daud grew up in one of the Jewish communities of Arab Spain, probably Cordoba. When the Jews fled to the Christian north of the country in the wake of Andalusia's capture by the Almohads-a fierce Moslem sect who offered conversion or death-Ibn Daud left Cordoba for Toledo, and stayed there until his death. Two of his works remain: a philosophical treatise called 'The Sublime Faith', originally written in Arabic but extant only in a Hebrew version, and a historical treatise written in Hebrew called Sefer ha-Cabbala ('Book of Tradition'). 'The Sublime Faith' is a philosophical defence of Judaism, which contains an attack on the tenets of Christianity and Islam; Sefer ha-Cabbala, which covers Jewish history from the time of Alexander the Great until the Almohad invasion of Spain, is similarly a defence of Judaism. Right down to the scientific study of Jewish history in the 19 century, Sefer ha-Cabbala had a great influence, particularly as a source for the history of the Jews in Spain.
c. 1089-c. 1164. Spanish poet and biblical scholar. Ibn Ezra was born in Tudela, and was closely attached to his renowned fellow-townsman Judah HALEVI. He lived in Cordova under a pseudonym, and had considerable difficulty in earning a livelihood. He wrote ironically of his ventures, 'If I were to take up shroud-making, men would leave off dying.' In legendary tales he is pictured as a beggar, seeking alms from door to door. He left the city about 1140 and after that lived as a wandering scholar, mainly in Italy, also visiting France, North Africa, London and maybe Palestine in his old age.
Ibn Ezra's works of biblical exegesis, intended to give the simple meaning of the Torah, were composed in Italy. It was through these works that the fruits of Spanish philosophy were spread outside Spain. An astronomer and mathematician, he is considered the first scientific commentator on the Bible, and centuries later SPINOZA was inspired by his work.
He also produced poetry, both religious and secular; treatises on Hebrew grammar for the instruction of the Italian communities; short philosophical works; and works on astronomy and mathematics-including a decimal system for writing numbers.
c. 1055-1138. Spanish philosopher and linguist. Ibn Ezra was born in Granada, and became the chief literary authority among Spanish Jews in his time. He left his native city soon after 1091, some say because of a disappointment in love, but it is more than likely that his departure coincided with the capture of Granada by the Moslem Almoravids. Although they were not noted as religious fanatics, as were the Almohads, the new rulers proceeded to settle the town with Moslems. Under the previous Moslem dynasty, the town had been inhabited largely by Jews.
Until his death, Moses wandered