Ibn Shuwayk, Isaac (Ar. Alm Al-Fath) ben Israel

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IBN SHUWAYK, ISAAC (Ar. Alm al-Fath ) BEN ISRAEL (before 1167–1247), gaon and Hebrew poet. Isaac ibn Shuwayk flourished in Baghdad, and was a friend of *Eleazar b. Jacob ha-Bavli, who corresponded with him and composed a long elegy on his death. Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon also addressed a letter to Isaac. Judah *al-Ḥarizi, who made his acquaintance during his stay in Baghdad (c. 1220), spoke disapprovingly of Isaac's poetry (Taḥkemoni, gate 18), an opinion which is not justified: "Now the pick of their poets was the academy head Isaac bar Israel, few of whose poems were whole and hale; most, pinched and pale, showed weal and wale. He penned a book of maqāmāt cold and remote, filled with songs and letters were best unwrote, that tax the eye and tight the throat. There folly rested, nested, and sickly themes egested, all maggot-infested. Silence had suited Isaac better: he penned neither song nor letter, but worms and fetor." (tr. D.S. Segal, 188) He states that Isaac was the author of a maqāma collection, which has not been preserved. Six of his piyyutim are known today.


Landshuth, Ammudei, 122; Zunz, Lit Poesie, 204, cf. 504; J. Schirmann, Die hebraeische Uebersetzung der Maqamen des Hariri (1930), 116f.; Fischel, in: mgwj, 79 (1935), 308–10; A. Ben-Jacob, in: Zion, 15 (1950), 56–58; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 419; S. Poznański, Babylonische Geonim… (1914), 42–46, 61, 68, 75ff.; A. Neubauer, in: Israelietische Letterbode, 3 (1878), 51.

[Jefim (Hayyim) Schirmann /

Angel Sáenz-Badillos (2nd ed.)]

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Ibn Shuwayk, Isaac (Ar. Alm Al-Fath) ben Israel

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