Isaac Bar Israel ibn al-Shuwayk

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ISAAC BAR ISRAEL IBN AL-SHUWAYK

ISAAC BAR ISRAEL IBN AL-SHUWAYK (c. 1167–1247; known in Arabic as Fakhr al-Dawla Abu al-Fatḥ Is ḥaq ), head of the *Baghdad academy from 1221 to 1247. Isaac was born in Baghdad. In addition to his erudition, Isaac was a prominent paytan. He wrote six vidduyim and tokhaḥot (penitential piyyutim) for the Day of Atonement, which were published in the maḥzorim of Sephardi rites. According to the testimony of the historian Ibn al-Fuwaṭī, he also possessed a wide knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. Judah Al-Ḥarizi mentions him in his work Taḥkemoni (ed. by A. Kaminka (1899), 190) and praises his noble character. In a letter to him R. Abraham b. Moses b. Maimon refers to him as "the sage of our generation, unequaled in our time, the crown of our heads, the head of our academy…." In a eulogy written for him by the contemporary poet R. Eleazar ha-Bavli, it is said of him that "he was like Koheleth in wisdom." His remains were interred on the Mount of Olives.

bibliography:

S. Poznański, Babylonische Geonim im nachgaonaeischen Zeitalter (1914), index; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 225–7; A. Ben-Jacob, Yehudei Bavel (1965), 31–3.

[Abraham Ben-Yaacob]