|Solomon Ibn Gabirol (c.1021–1058)
Jewish poet and philosopher, known also as Avicebron, born in Malaga. His
secular poetry deals partly with nature and love, but most of it reveals a gloom
and bitterness engendered by his tragic life. Orphaned early, he spent much of
his life contending with mediocre rivals and critics jealous of his scholarship.
It is thought that he was murdered by a rival. Ibn Gabriol’s religious poetry is
filled with a mystic awe of God, and much of it has been incorporated into the
Judaic liturgy. His great philosophical work, The Well of Life, showing
the influence of Neoplatonism, was written in Arabic. In its Latin translation (Fons
vitae), it exercised a great influence on Christian thought. The book is an
attempt to explain the universality of matter, man’s purpose in life, and the
communion of man’s soul with the spiritual sources that created it. His hundreds
of poems and his book of ethics, The Improvement of the Moral Qualities,
were also important.