Hebrew Poems from Spain

Hebrew Poems from Spain

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The years 950-1200 are often called the Golden Age of the Jews in Spain. During this period, the Jews reached a peak of achievement in all aspects of their life-political, spiritual, and cultural. They produced great works of literature and philosophy; their poetry represents a peak of literary achievement unparalleled in Hebrew until the twentieth century.

The poets of the Golden Age forged the language of the Hebrew Bible into a magnificent instrument for the expression of every facet of their experience--love and friendship, war and exile, philosophy and prayer. Their poems reflect their overarching consciousness of Israel's relationship with God and their deep concern with the fate of the Jewish people in exile. Not until modern times did Hebrew poetic genius flourish again with such freedom and with such intensity.

This volume conveys in modern English something of the greatness of that literature while as far as possible preserving the poetic values and beauty of the Hebrew original. Brief notes on the work of each of the thirteen poets represented put the poems in their proper perspective and do much to elucidate their meaning.

The poets included are Dunash Halevi ben Labrat, Joseph ibn Abithur, Isaac ibn Kalpon, Samuel Hanagid, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Isaac ibn Gi'at, Moses ibn Ezra, Judah Halevi, Abraham ibn Ezra, Joseph ibn Zabara, Judah Alharizi, Shem Tob ben Palquera, and Todros ben Judah Abulafia.

'Remains the only anthology in English devoted entirely to the Golden Age with selections from all the major and some minor poets presented in verse translations. The book is a gift to the academic world and to all readers interested in the literary achievements of the Jews.' From the Foreword by Raymond Scheindlin
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Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 135 x 215 x 11mm | 249g
  • The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1904113664
  • 9781904113669
  • 2,694,141

Table of contents


Foreword by Raymond Scheindlin

A Note on the Translations


Dunash Halevi ben Labrat
Reply to an Invitation to a Feast - A Song for the Sabbath

Joseph ibn Abithur

Sanctification - A Song for the New Year - Lamentation on the Devastation of the Land of Israel (1012)

Isaac ibn Kalpon

A Present of Cheese

Samuel Hanagid

In Praise of Wine - An Invitation - The Power of the Pen - On the Death of his Brother - Man Runs Towards the Grave - The Old Man's Warning - The Hour in which I am - Two Bouts of Woe - I Look Up to the Sky - The Citadel - God's Assurance - The Victory over Ben Abbad - A Message to his Son, Joseph, on the Raising of the Siege of Lorca - War - Israel, Arise - The Wounded Lion

Solomon ibn Gabirol

An Apple for Isaac - The Writing of Winter - In Mourning for Yekutiel - On the Death of Rab hai - Separation from the Torah * His Illness - In the Morning I Look for you - The Unity of God

Isaac ibn Gi'at

The Greatness of God

Moses ibn Ezra

The Garden of Song - The Coming of Spring - The Sources of my Being - To Isaac, his Brother - Let Man Remember - Where are the Graves? - Slaves and Masters

Judah Halevi

Dialogue between Israel and God - Israel's Complaint - Curtains of Solomon - Save my People - The Servant of God - Heal me, my God - Singing God's Praises - My Heart is in the East - Jerusalem - Mount Avarim - Self-Exhortation to make the Journey to Israel - The Poet is Urged to Remain in Spain - The Pet Remembers his Home - The Poet Remembers his Family during a Storm at Sea - The Western Breeze - Storm at Sea - The Army of Old Age - To Moses ibn Ezra, in Christian Spain - Among the Jews of Seville - The Apple - My Love Washes her Clothes

Abraham ibn Ezra

Luckless - I Have a Garment - God Supreme - All Glory to his Name - How is it You have not Given this Thought? - On the Death of his Son, Isaac

Joseph ibn Zabara

The Doctor

Judah Alharizi

A Secret Kept - The Lute Sounds

Shem Tob ben Palquera

If Fear is like a Rock

Todros ben Judah Abulafia

From Prison


Index of First Lines (English)

Index of First Lines (Hebrew)
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About David Goldstein

David Goldstein, late Curator of Hebrew Books and Manuscripts at the British Library, was awarded the Webber Prize 1987 for this translation shortly before he died.
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