Ibn Tibbon - Encyclopedia




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IBN TIBBON, a family of Jewish translators, who flourished in Provence in the 12th and 13th centuries. They all made original contributions to philosophical and scientific literature, but their permanent fame is based on their translations. Between them they rendered into Hebrew all the chief Jewish writings of the middle ages. These Hebrew translations were, in their turn, rendered into Latin (by Buxtorf and others) and in this form the works of Jewish authors found their way into the learned circles of Europe. The chief members of the Ibn Tibbon family were (I) JUDAH BEN SAUL (1120-1190), who was born in Spain but settled in Lunel. He translated the works of Bahya, Halevi, Saadiah and the grammatical treatises of Janah. (2) His son, SAMUEL (1150-1230), translated the Guide of the Perplexed by Maimonides. He justly termed his father "the father of the Translators," but Samuel's own method surpassed his father's in lucidity and fidelity to the original. (3) Son of Samuel, MOSES (died 1283). He translated into Hebrew a large number of Arabic books (including the Arabic form of Euclid). The Ibn Tibbon family thus rendered conspicuous services to European culture, and did much to further among Jews who did not understand Arabic the study of science and philosophy. (I. A.)

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