Chapters on Jewish Literature eBook

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Zabara must receive some further notice in a later chapter because of his connection with medieval folk-lore.  Of Charizi’s chief work, the Tachkemoni, it may be said that it is excellent of its type.  The stories which it tells in unmetrical rhyme are told in racy style, and its criticisms on men and things are clever and striking.  As a literary critic also Charizi ranks high, and there is much skill in the manner in which he links together, round the person of his hero, the various narratives which compose the Tachkemoni.  The experiences he relates are full of humor and surprises.  As a phrase-maker, Charizi was peculiarly happy, his command of Hebrew being masterly.  But his most conspicuous claim to high rank lies in his origination of that blending of grim irony with bright wit which became characteristic of all Jewish humorists, and reached its climax in Heine.  But Charizi himself felt that his art as a Hebrew poet was decadent.  Great poets of Jewish race have risen since, but the songs they have sung have not been songs of Zion, and the language of their muse has not been the language of the Hebrew Bible.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

JEHUDA HALEVI.

Graetz.—­III, II.

J. Jacobs.—­Jehuda Halevi, Poet and Pilgrim (Jewish
  Ideals
, New York, 1896, p. 103).

Lady Magnus.—­Jewish Portraits (Boston, 1889), p. 1.

TRANSLATIONS OF HIS POETRY by Emma Lazarus and Mrs. Lucas
  (op. cit.):  Editions of the Prayer-Book; also J.Q.R.,
  X, pp. 117, 626; VII, p. 464; Treasurers of Oxford (London,
  1850); I. Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, chs. 7, 9
  and 10.

HIS PHILOSOPHY:  Specimen of the Cusari, translated by A.
  Neubauer (Miscellany of the Society of Hebrew Literature,
  Vol.  I).  John Owen.—­J.Q.R., III, p. 199.

CHARIZI.

Graetz.—­III, p. 559 [577]

Karpeles.—–­Jewish Literature and other Essays,
  p. 210 seq.

M. Sachs.—­Hebrew Review, Vol.  I.

CHAPTER XIII

MOSES MAIMONIDES

     Maimon, Rambam = R. Moses, the son of Maimon, Maimonides.—­His
     Yad Hachazaka and Moreh Nebuchim.—­Gersonides.—­Crescas.—­Albo.

The greatest Jew of the Middle Ages, Moses, the son of Maimon, was born in Cordova, in 1135, and died in Fostat in 1204.  His father Maimon was himself an accomplished scientist and an enlightened thinker, and the son was trained in the many arts and sciences then included in a liberal education.  When Moses was thirteen years old, Cordova fell into the hands of the Almohades, a sect of Mohammedans, whose creed was as pure as their conduct was fanatical.  Jews and Christians were forced to choose conversion to Islam, exile, or death.  Maimon fled with his

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