Abū ʿAmr Yosef ben Yaqub Ibn Ṣaddīq, Dayyan al-Qurtubi

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Abū ʿAmr Yosef ben Yaqub Ibn Ṣaddīq (Kohen Ṣedeq), Dayyan al-Qurtubi

Birthplace: Córdoba, Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain
Death: circa 1149 (65-83)
Córdoba, Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain
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Son of Yaqob ben Yosef Kohen Ṣedeq

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About Abū ʿAmr Yosef ben Yaqub Ibn Ṣaddīq, Dayyan al-Qurtubi

The poet, philosopher, and distinguished talmudist Joseph Ibn Ṣaddīq was born around 1075, probably in Cordova. According to the Sefer ha-Qabbala by Abraham Ibn Daʾud, he was a dayyan in the rabbinical court there from 1138 until 1149, the year of his death. According to the same source, his father, Jacob, was also a learned scholar.

Moses Ibn Ezra includes Ibn Ṣaddīq in his ars poetica, Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara (p. 79), as one of the most outstanding members of his generation and expressly praises his affable nature, poetic gifts, and wisdom. Words of praise were also dedicated to him by Abraham Ibn Ezra and by Judah al-Ḥarīzī in the Taḥkemoni (gate 18), where he is placed in the "second rank of poets," inferior only to Solomon Ibn Gabirol.

Ibn Ṣaddīq was a disciple of Isaac Ibn Ghiyyāth, with whom he studied in Lucena alongside other distinguished Jews like his friend Joseph Ibn Migash. Although he is remembered as a distinguished talmudist well versed in rabbinical literature, he does not seem to have written any works in this field.

Thirty-six of Ibn Ṣaddīq's poems have been preserved (ed. Yonah David, 1982). These are largely muwashshaḥāt, two of them with a kharja in Romance, in which the author shows great virtuosity and skill. If Y. David's and E. Fleischer's (1986-87) thesis is accepted, his poem Leyl Maḥshevot (At night, thoughts) with Arabic kharja (Poems, pp. 36-38) is clear evidence of his mastery in this field; it is a muʿārada (imitation) of a song by Abū Bakr al-Abyaḍ (12th century), which, because of its difficulty, only the still young Judah ha-Levi would manage to imitate. His compositions with secular themes are samples of the great Andalusian poetic genres, which include notable muwashshaḥāt with love themes.

Several poems reflect Ibn Ṣaddīq's friendships with other poets. He dedicated at least two compositions to Judah Ibn Ghiyyāth, and he wrote a poem to Judah ha-Levi, accompanied by a gift, welcoming him to Cordova (Poems, p. 42). Ha-Levi's dīwān preserves the response to this poem (Dîwân, I, p. 118) along with other poems addressed to Ibn Ṣaddīq, including an elegy on the death of his father. Despite the friendship that united them, there are no poems addressed to him from Moses ibn Ezra. The question of whether a muwashshaḥ by Ibn Ṣaddīq (Poems, p. 27) was written in honor of the Granadan poet is disputed. The single poetic exchange between Ibn Ṣaddīq and Abraham Ibn Ezra holds special interest because of its unusual topic ("on his bride's menstruation") and burlesque tone (Poems, pp. 81-82).

In the context of synagogal poetry, reshuyyot (introductions) and seliḥot (penitential poems) are the most significant of Ibn Ṣaddīq's works. The presence of personal elements is remarkable, especially in the latter.

As a philosopher, Ibn Ṣaddīq was the author of the Sefer ha-ʿOlam Qaṭan (Heb. The Microcosm). The original work, written in Arabic, was lost, but the text has been preserved in an anonymous Hebrew version. Divided into four parts, it holds that from knowledge of the human body one can come to understand the nature of the material world and the soul. The influence of this work on other thinkers is not known, and the text was almost never quoted in medieval times. Maimonides praised it in a still unpublished letter.

Ibn Ṣaddīq himself alludes to another of his works, a treatise on logic that has not been preserved.

Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio


Fleischer, Ezra. "Le-Qorot R. Yehuda ha-Levi bi-Nʿurav ve-Reshit Qesharav ʿim R. Moshe ibn ʿEzra," Qiryat Sefer 61 (1986-87): 893-910.

Ha-Levi, Judah. Dîwân des Abû l Hasan Jehuda ha Levi. Diwan ve Hu' Sefer Kolel Shire Avir ha Meshorerim Yehuda ben Shemu'el ha Levi, ed. Ḥayyim Brody, 4 vols. (Berlin, 1894-30; repr. A. M. Habermann, England, 1971).

Ibn Daʾud, Abraham. Sefer ha-Qabbalah: The Book of Tradition, ed. and trans. Gerson D. Cohen. (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2005).

Ibn Ṣaddīq, Joseph. The Microcosm of Joseph Ibn Saddiq, Heb. text crit. ed. and Eng. trans. Jacob Habermann and Saul Horovitz (Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003).

---. The Poems of Josef Ibn Zaddiq, crit. ed., introd., and comment. Yonah David (New York: American Academy for Jewish Research, 1982).

Schirmann, Ḥayyim. The History of Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain, ed., suppl., and annot. Ezra Fleischer (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1995) [Hebrew].

Zonta, Mauro. La filosofia ebraica medievale. Stori e testi (Rome: Editori Laterza 2002).

Cite this page

Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio. "Ibn Ṣaddīq, Joseph (Abū ʿAmr) ben Jacob." Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Brill Online, 2013. <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-jews-...>

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Abū ʿAmr Yosef ben Yaqub Ibn Ṣaddīq, Dayyan al-Qurtubi's Timeline

Córdoba, Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain
Age 74
Córdoba, Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain