The Fountain of Life
by Solomon Ibn Gabirol
tr. by Harry E. Wedeck
Solomon ibn Gabirol, also known as Avicebron, was a Spanish-Jewish poet and philosopher of the eleventh century. This is a translation of a key extract from his major philosophical work, the Fons Vitae, or Fountain of Life. In this text, Gabirol uses a Socratic dialog as a framework to discuss his theory of the 'First Cause.' Written in Arabic, the Fons was translated into Latin in the 12th century, The work was attributed to 'Avicebron,' who was not identified as Jewish but as Christian or possibly Muslim. One reason is that Gabirol does not reference the Tanakh or Talmud, as would be normal for a Jewish intellectual from this time and place. In addition, his neo-Platonic views seem to place him in a more Christian intellectual current. However, in 1846, a scholar named Solomon Munk announced that he had discovered that Avicebron was the same person as Gabirol.
A volume of Gabirol's poetry is also available at this site.
Production Notes: for technical reasons this text has been broken down into files at arbitrary positions. These section breaks are not in the original book.