Chapters on Jewish Literature eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about Chapters on Jewish Literature.
a sure credential for employment by the state.  It was to Moorish Spain that the centre of Judaism shifted after the death of Saadiah.  It was in Spain that the finest fruit of Jewish literature in the post-Biblical period grew.  Here the Jewish genius expanded beneath the sunshine of Moorish culture.  To Moses, the son of Chanoch, an envoy from Babylonia, belongs the honor of founding a new school in Cordova.  In this he had the support of the scholar-statesman Chasdai, the first of a long line of medieval Jews who earned double fame, as servants of their country and as servants of their own religion.  To Chasdai we must now turn.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

SAADIAH.

Graetz.—­III, 7.

Schiller-Szinessy.—­Encycl.  Brit., Vol.  XXI, p. 120.

M. Friedlaender.—­Life and Works of Saadia. J.Q.R.,
  Vol.  V, p. 177.

Saadiah’s Philosophy (Owen), J.Q.R., Vol.  III, p. 192.

Grammar and Polemics (Rosin), J.Q.R., Vol.  VI, p. 475;
  (S.  Poznanski) ibid., Vol.  IX, p. 238.

E.H.  Lindo.—­History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal
(London, 1848).

CHAPTER IX

DAWN OF THE SPANISH ERA

     Chasdai Ibn Shaprut.—­Menachem and Dunash, Chayuj and
     Janach.—­Samuel the Nagid.

If but a small part of what Hebrew poets sang concerning Chasdai Ibn Shaprut be literal fact, he was indeed a wonderful figure.  His career set the Jewish imagination aflame.  Charizi, in the thirteenth century, wrote of Chasdai thus: 

    In southern Spain, in days gone by,
    The sun of fame rose up on high: 
    Chasdai it was, the prince, who gave
    Rich gifts to all who came to crave. 
    Science rolled forth her mighty waves,
    Laden with gems from hidden caves,
    Till wisdom like an island stood,
    The precious outcome of the flood. 
    Here thirsting spirits still might find
    Knowledge to satisfy the mind. 
    Their prince’s favor made new day
    For those who slept their life away. 
    They who had lived so long apart
    Confessed a bond, a common heart,
    From Christendom and Moorish lands,
    From East, from West, from distant strands. 
    His favor compassed each and all. 
    Girt by the shelter of his grace,
    Lit by the glory of his face,
    Knowledge held their heart in thrall. 
    He showed the source of wisdom and her springs,
    And God’s anointment made them more than kings. 
    His goodness made the dumb to speak his name,
    Yea, stubborn hearts were not unyielding long;
    And bards the starry splendor of his fame
    Mirrored in lucent current of their song.

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