Judah ben Saul ibn Tibbon —after , translator and physician. Born in Granada , he left Spain in , probably on account of anti-Semitic persecution by the Almohades , and went to Lunel in southern France. Benjamin of Tudela mentions him as a physician there in He died around , in Marseille, France. Best known for his translations of Jewish rabbinic literature from Arabic to Hebrew , he was an adherent of Maimonides and his interpretation of the Bible, and is famous for his translations and writings on the philosophy of Maimonides.
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Biography[ edit ] He received a Jewish education in rabbinic literature from his father Judah ben Saul ibn Tibbon. Other teachers in Lunel taught him about medicine, Arabic and the secular knowledge of his age. Samuel ibn Tibbon married and had children, including a son, Moses ibn Tibbon , who also translated works from Arabic to Hebrew. He traveled to Barcelona , Toledo , and Alexandria — Finally he settled in Marseilles.
After his death, his body was transported to the Kingdom of Jerusalem , and he is buried in Tiberias. Original writings[ edit ] In , while returning from Alexandria, Samuel ibn Tibbon wrote on shipboard Biur meha-Millot ha-Zarot, an explanation of the philosophical terms of Guide for the Perplexed by Maimonides.
When finishing his Hebrew translation of the Guide originally written in Arabic , Samuel wrote an alphabetical glossary of the foreign words that he had used in his translation. In the introduction to the glossary, he divided these words into five classes: Words taken mainly from the Arabic; Rare words occurring in the Mishnah and in the Gemara ; Hebrew verbs and adjectives derived from substantives by analogy with the Arabic; Homonyms , used with special meanings; and Words to which new meanings were given by analogy with the Arabic.
He gives also a list of corrections which he desired to be made in the copies of his translation of the Guide. The glossary gives not only a short explanation of each word and its origin, but also in many cases a scientific definition with examples.
It deals with physical and metaphysical subjects, interpreting in an allegoric-philosophical manner the Bible verses cited by the author. At the end of the treatise, the author says that he wrote it in response to the propagation of philosophy among Gentiles and the ignorance of his coreligionists in philosophical matters. A philosophical commentary on Ecclesiastes , quoted by Samuel in the foregoing work p.
A commentary on the Song of Solomon. Quotations from this work are found in his commentary on Ecclesiastes; in Neubauer, "Cat. These make it evident that Samuel wrote this commentary, but its full contents are unknown. Samuel ibn Tibbon was an enthusiastic adherent of Maimonides and his allegorical interpretation of the Bible.
He held that many Bible narratives are to be considered simply as parables meshalim and the religious laws as guides hanhagot to a higher, spiritual life. While such statements were not unusual in his age, adherents of the literal interpretation of the Bible, the anti-Maimonidean party see Maimonides for more details , created strong opposition to the work. Opponents of Maimonides used a satirical title: Nevukhat ha-Morim, or "Perplexity of the Rebellious".
Before finishing this difficult work, Samuel consulted Maimonides several times by letter regarding some difficult passages. Maimonides responded sometimes in Arabic; his letters were later translated into Hebrew, perhaps by Samuel.
Maimonides gave some general rules for translation from the Arabic into Hebrew, and explained passages questioned by Samuel by writing in Hebrew. He said that he wrote the translation because the Jewish scholars of Lunel had asked for it. As aids in his work, he used the Hebrew translation by his father whom he calls "the Father of the Translators" , works on the Arabic language, and the Arabic writings in his own library.
Samuel also prepared an index of the Biblical verses quoted in the Moreh. Punctuation and paragraph breaks were added, as well as translation of difficult words at the bottom of the page. There is also an extended introduction, many new indexes and other additions.
Some critics have been concerned that he introduced a number of Arabic words into Hebrew, and, by analogy with the Arabic, he gives to certain Hebrew words meanings different from the accepted ones. But generally the scope and success of his work are not questioned.
Especially admirable is the skill with which he reproduces in Hebrew the abstract ideas of Maimonides, as Hebrew is essentially a language of a people expressing concrete ideas. When the struggle between the Maimonists and anti-Maimonists arose, Samuel was reproached for contributing to the spread of the ideas of Maimonides. His chief critic was Judah al-Fakhkhar. Samuel translated these three treatises both as an appendix to his commentary on Ecclesiastes see above and separately Steinschneider, ibid p.
It is extant in several manuscripts. The preface and the beginning of the text have been printed by Filipowski c. Samuel made this retranslation, at the request of Joseph ben Israel of Toledo, working from a single and bad Arabic translation of Batriq Steinschneider, ibid p.
Samuel ibn Tibbon
The ibn Tibbon family were famed over several generations so we begin by looking at the ancestors of the subject of this biography. He lived for the first 30 years of his life in Granada which at this time was a Muslim country. There was a thriving community of Jews in this part of Spain from around the year , many of whom made major contributions to the study of languages. The Almohads expelled the Jews from Muslim Spain in , and Judah ben Saul ibn Tibbon together with many other learned refugees, went to the south of France. He settled in Lunel where he translated philosophical works from Arabic into Hebrew.
Written under the influence of Maimonides , it is of a philosophical and allegorical character, and is similar to that by his brother-in-law Abba Mari ben Simson ben Anatoli , whom he quotes repeatedly. Commentary to the Pentateuch. Judah Mosconi c. According to Steinschneider , it was a supercommentary on Abraham ibn Ezra.
Samuel Ibn Tibbon
He was induced to undertake this work by Meshullam ben Jacob and his son Asher, at whose desire he translated the first treatise, in After its completion Joseph Kimhi translated the other nine treatises and afterward the first one also. Goldberg, with notes by R. Kirchheim, Frankfurt-on-the-Main,