Friday, February 05, 2010

Spinoza as Hebraist - more on Aben Ezra

Here's an interesting pair of letters from the Jewish Chronicle; the first is dated 10.25.1957, the second 11.11.1957. Interesting because it concerns Rashi's bing called Yarchi, and Ibn Ezra "Aben" Ezra. There's more to say about this, especially about Yarchi (which will have it's own post eventually), but also about Spinoza and Hebrew. But the day is short. See this post about pronouncing "ibn." The first guy was a famous chess player, by the way.


  1. Spinoza's comment on the superiority of Rashi's understanding to Ibn Ezra's is meant to be a bit unexpected, a bit surprising, I think. The system of grammar available to Ibn Ezra in his generation was, of course, more mature and accurate than that available to Rashi. But I think he's saying that there's also such a thing as instinct and taste when it comes to knowledge of a language--and in that Rashi is peerless.

    Spinoza is also dissappointing the reader's expectation that, as a rationalist, as someone interested in modernity and the wider world, he'd naturally be drawn to the more scientific Ibn Ezra, might even find Rashi with his midrashic, rabinnic content embarrassing and unworthy of serious consideration.

  2. second article is not showing!HELP


  3. I don't know why. Email me, and I'll send it to you.

  4. Re Spinoza, the modern reader has a much larger body of purely rationalist literature to read to his heart's content than was available to the early modern reader. A good thing too, as it allowed readers to truly seek the good in what was available for them to read, even if it was intermixed with things they could not accept.



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