Ibn Tibbon (or ibn Tibbon), is a family of Jewish rabbis and translators that lived principally in southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon
Main article: Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon.
Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon, more commonly known as Samuel ibn Tibbon, was a Jewish philosopher and doctor. 1150-1230 in Marseilles. Best known for his translations of Jewish rabbinic literature from Arabic to Hebrew. He was an adherent of Maimonides and his interpretation of the Bible. Famous for his writings on the philosophy of Maimonides.
Abraham ibn Tibbon
Translator of Aristotle's "Economics".
Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon
Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon of Provençal, an astronomer; born, probably at Marseilles, about 1236; died at Montpellier about 1304. He was a grandson of Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon. In the controversy between the Maimonists and the anti-Maimonists Jacob defended science against the attacks of Abba Mari and his party.
Judah ben Moses ibn Tibbon
A rabbi in Montpellier; he took part in the dispute between the followers and the opponents of Maimonides. He induced his relative Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon to support the Maimonidean party by pointing out that the anti-Maimonideans were the opponents of his grandfather Samuel ibn Tibbon and of the son-in-law of the latter, Jacob ben Abba Mari ben Samson ben Anatoli. In consequence of this, Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon protested against the reading of Solomon ben Adret's letter to the community of Montpellier, which nevertheless took place in the synagogue of that city on the following day, a Sabbath, in the month of Elul, 1304. According to Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon, Judah wrote various works. None of them are extant.
Judah ben Saul ibn Tibbon
Translator; born at Granada, Spain, 1120; died after 1190. He left his native place in 1150, probably on account of persecution by the Almohades, and went to Lunel in southern France. Benjamin of Tudela mentions him as a physician there in 1160. Judah lived on terms of intimacy with Meshullam ben Jacob and with Meshullam's two sons, Asher and Aaron, whom in his will he recommends as friends to his only son, Samuel. He was also a close friend of Abraham ben David of Posquières and of Zerahiah ha-Levi, the latter of whom he freely recognized as a greater scholar than himself, and whose son he also wished to have as a friend for his own son. He had two daughters whose marriage caused him much anxiety.
Judah was very active as a translator, his works including the translation into Hebrew of the following:
(1) Bahya ben Joseph ibn Paquda's "Al-Hidayah ila Fara'id al-Ḳulub," under the title "Torat Hobot ha-Lebabot." He was induced to undertake this work by Meshullam ben Jacob and his son Asher, at whose desire he translated the first treatise, in 1161. After its completion Joseph Kimhi translated the other nine treatises and afterward the first one also. At the wish of Abraham ben David of Posquières, Judah continued his translation of the work. Judah's translation is the only one that has held its place.
(2) Solomon ibn Gabirol's " Kitab Islaḥ al-Akhlaḳ," under the title "Tiḳḳun Middot ha-Nefesh" (printed together with the first-mentioned translation at Constantinople in 1550).
(3) Judah ha-Levi's "Kitab al-Ḥujjah," under the title "Sefer ha-Kuzari" (1167). In this instance also Judah's translation drove that of his rival, Judah ibn Cardinal, out of the field, so that only a small portion of the latter's work has been preserved.
(4) Two works by Ibn Janah:
- (a) His grammar, "Kitab al-Luma'," under the title "Sefer ha-Rikmah" (1171; edited by B. Goldberg, with notes by R. Kirchheim, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1856). The translator's preface is interesting for the history of literature, and it gives Judah's opinions on the art of Hebrew translation.
- (b) "Kitab al-Uṣul," under the title "Sefer ha-Shorashim" (edited by Bacher, Berlin, 1896). Isaac al-Barceloni and Isaac ha-Levi had already translated this dictionary as far as the letter "lamed," and Judah finished it in 1171.
(5) Saadia's "Kitab al-Amanat wal-I'tiḳadat," under the title "Sefer ha-Emunot weha-De'ot" (1186; first ed. Constantinople, 1562).
His Ethical Will: Judah's testament, with its homely style and frankness, is one of the most interesting in this class of literature. It gives insight into the soul of the man and his relation to his indisputably greater son, Samuel. Against the latter his chief complaint is that he never initiated his father into his literary or business affairs, never asked for his advice, and, in fact, hid everything from him.
He recommends Samuel to practise writing in Arabic, since Jews like Samuel ha-Nagid, for example, attained rank and position solely through being able to write in that language. He exhorts him to morality and to the study of the Torah as well as of the profane sciences, including medicine. He is to read grammatical works on Sabbaths and festivals, and is not to neglect the reading of "Mishle" and of "Ben Mishle." In regard to his medical practise he gives his son sage advice. He further advises his son to observe rigorously the laws of diet, lest he, like others, become ill frequently in consequence of intemperate and unwholesome eating, which would not fail to engender mistrust in him as a physician on the part of the general public. Interesting are Judah's references to his library as his "best treasure," his "best companion," and to his book-shelves as "the most beautiful pleasure-gardens." He adds:
- "I have collected a large library for thy sake so that thou needest never borrow a book of any one. As thou thyself seest, most students run hither and thither searching for books without being able to find them. . . . Look over thy Hebrew books every month, thy Arabic ones every two months, thy bound books every three months. Keep thy library in order, so that thou wilt not need to search for a book. Prepare a list of the books on each shelf, and place each book on its proper shelf. Take care also of the loose, separate leaves in thy books, because they contain exceedingly important things which I myself have collected and written down. Lose no writing and no letter which I leave thee. . . . Cover thy book-shelves with beautiful curtains, protect them from water from the roof, from mice, and from all harm, because they are thy best treasure."
His fine linguistic sense and his conception of the art of translating are shown by his counsels on this subject.
Moses ibn Tibbon
Physician and author; born in Marseilles; flourished between 1240 and 1283; son of Samuel ibn Tibbon and father of the Judah ibn Tibbon who was prominent in the Maimonidean controversy which took place at Montpellier.The number of works written by Moses ibn Tibbon makes it probable that he reached a great age. With other Jewish physicians of Provence, he suffered under the order of the Council of Béziers (May, 1246) which prohibited Jewish physicians from treating Gentiles. He wrote the following works:
(1) Commentary on Canticles (Lyck, 1874). Written under the influence of Maimonides, it is of a philosophical and allegorical character, and is similar to that by his brother-in-law Abba Mari ben Simson ben Anatoli, whom he quotes repeatedly.
(2) Commentary to the Pentateuch. However, Judah Mosconi (c. 1370), in his supercommentary on the writings of Abraham ibn Ezra, expresses some doubt as to the authenticity of this commentary on account of its often very unsatisfactory explanations. According to Steinschneider, it was merely a supercommentary on Abraham ibn Ezra.
(3) "Sefer Pe'ah," an allegorical explanation of haggadic passages in the Talmud and the Midrash (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 939, 9).
(4) Commentary on the weights and measures of the Bible and the Talmud (Vatican MSS., No. 298, 4; see Assemani, "Catal." p. 283; Steinschneider, "Joseph ibn Aḳnin," in Ersch and Gruber, "Encyc." section ii., part 31, p. 50; "Ginze Nistarot," iii. 185 et seq.).
(5) "Sefer ha-Tanninim," mentioned by Isaac de Lattes (l.c.), but without indication of its contents.
(6) Letter on questions raised by his father, Samuel ibn Tibbon, in regard to Maimonides' "Moreh Nebukim" (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 2218, 2).
Moses ibn Tibbon's translations are even more important and numerous than his original works. They include versions of Arabic works on philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine.
Samuel ibn Tibbon
Son of Moses ibn Tibbon; first mentioned in a responsum of Solomon ben Adret (Neubauer, in "R. E. J." xii. 82 et seq.), which narrates a suit brought by Samuel against his rich young cousin Bionguda (). Bionguda was the youngest of three daughters born to Bella, the daughter of Moses ibn Tibbon. After the death of her husband, Jacob ha-Kohen (1254), Bella went to Marseilles, where Bionguda became engaged to Isaac ben Isaac. Samuel ibn Tibbon, who at that time was probably living at Marseilles, contested the legality of the marriage to Isaac ben Isaac, saying that he had made Bionguda his legal wife while she was still living at Naples. Bionguda denied this.