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The Two Commentaries of Abraham Ibn Ezra on the Book of Esther

Barry Walfish
The Jewish Quarterly Review
New Series, Vol. 79, No. 4 (Apr., 1989), pp. 323-343
DOI: 10.2307/1453892
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1453892
Page Count: 21
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The Two Commentaries of Abraham Ibn Ezra on the Book of Esther
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Abstract

Abraham Ibn Ezra's two commentaries on the Book of Esther--the first written in Italy, the second in France--are compared in an attempt to elucidate their relationship. Nineteenth-century scholars had made generalizations concerning the nature of Ibn Ezra's Italian and French commentaries which are now being questioned. This study continues the work of reexamination and reevaluation. Special emphasis is placed on the comparison of his use of grammatical and rabbinic material in the two commentaries. Concerning his use of grammar, it is demonstrated that there is a considerable amount of grammatical material in the commentary written in France, although in general it is of a less technical nature. As for his use of rabbinic material and attitude towards it, little difference could be detected between the Italian and French commentaries. The author concludes that the two commentaries are not editions in the modern sense, the second being a revision of the first intended to replace it. Rather the second commentary is the result of Ibn Ezra's restudy of the Book of Esther without his being able to consult his first commentary. Certain major themes recur, but there is a great deal of material in the two commentaries that is unrelated. The comparison of certain pairs of comments on the same verses in the two commentaries shows how Ibn Ezra's thinking on specific exegetical problems in the text changed over the years.

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