His translation of the Bible into Arabic and his Arabic commentaries on Scripture made the rabbinic understanding of the Bible accessible to masses of Jews.
His poetic compositions for liturgical use provided the stimulus for the revival of Hebrew poetry. His efforts made Judaism philosophically respectable and the study of philosophy a religiously acceptable pursuit.
To be sure, able geonim such as Sherira and his son Hai в exercised enormous influence over the Judeo-Arabic world through hundreds of legal responsa issued in the course of their successive terms в at Pumbedita. Despite the fundamental uniformity of medieval Jewish culture, distinctive Jewish subcultures were shaped by the cultural and political divisions within the Mediterranean basin, in which Arabic Muslim and Latin Christian civilizations coexisted as discrete and self-contained societies.
Two major branches of rabbinic civilization developed in Europe: Distinguished most conspicuously by their varying pronunciation of Hebrew, the numerous differences between them in religious orientation and practice derived, in the first instance, from the geographical fountainheads of their cultureвthe Ashkenazim plural of Ashkenazi tracing their cultural filiation to Italy and Palestine and the Sephardim plural of Sephardi to Babyloniaвand from the influences of their respective immediate milieus.
While the Jews of Christian Europe wrote for internal use almost exclusively in Hebrew, those of Muslim areas regularly employed Arabic for prose works and Hebrew for poetic composition.
Whereas the literature of Jews in Latin areas was overwhelmingly religious in content, that of the Jews of Spain was well endowed with secular poetry and scientific jewish dating app uk inspired by the cultural tastes of the Arabic literati.
Most significantly, the two forms of European Judaism differed in their approaches to the identical rabbinic base that they had inherited from the East and in their attitudes to Gentile culture and politics.
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