Alḥadib (al-Aḥdab), Isaac ben Solomon ben Ẓaddik

views updated


ALḤADIB (al-Aḥdab ), ISAAC BEN SOLOMON BEN ẒADDIK (mid-14th century–after 1429), Hebrew poet and astronomer. Of Spanish origin (very likely from Castile), after the events of 1391, Alḥadib went to Sicily in 1396. He lived first in Syracuse and then (1426) in Palermo. He applied his scientific interests to biblical interpretation, and also wrote secular and liturgical poetry. O. Ra'anan published in 1988 a critical edition of almost 90 of his poems, most of them secular, including monorhymed and strophic compositions and some rhymed prose. His poetry, with popular tendencies, is sometimes didactic, ethic, or sapiential, but sometimes also humorous or satiric, including some riddles, proverbs, and polemics, and introductions to prose works. Two interesting poems, alluding to the 13 principles of Maimonides, were written on the occasion of the wedding of his two sons. Like other late Hebrew poets, he wrote in a mannered style (for instance, a poem has one thousand words starting with the letter nun), imitating the octosyllabic structure of Romance poetry in many of his Hebrew verses. He wrote a hymn on Esther giving his name in acrostic, and an addition to the poem with which Moses Handali opened his commentary on the Hebrew translation of Al-Fergani's astronomy.

Only one of his works in prose has been published in full, Leshon ha-Zahav, on weights and measures mentioned in the Bible (Venice, undated). His writings (in manuscript) include Oraḥ Selulah, on calculations; Iggeret Kelei Ḥemdah, describing an astronomical apparatus wich he invented in Sicily; Keli ha-Memuẓa or Keli ha-Emẓa'i, also on astronomy; and Ma'amar be-Gidrei ha-Devarim, on theological terminology.


Steinschneider, Uebersetzungen, 7 (1864), 112; M. Rabinowitz, in: Mizraḥ u-Ma'arav, 3 (1929), 219–23; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 417; Roth, in: jqr, 47 (1956/57), 324. add. bibliography: Shirei Yitzhak Ben Shelomoh Al-Aḥdab, ed. O. Ra'anan (1988); Schirmann-Fleischer (1997), 618–24.

[Abraham Meir Habermann /

Angel Saenz-Badillos (2nd ed.)]