Dunash ben Labrat

Born on 920

Died on 990

Dunash ha-Levi ben Labrat;

(920-990) (Hebrew: דוֹנָש הלוי בֵּן לָבְרָט; Arabic: دناش بن لبراط‎) was a medieval Jewish commentator, poet, and grammarian of the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain.

Dunash was, according to Moses ibn Ezra, born in Fes, the name Dunash being of Berber origin. In his youth he travelled to Baghdad to study with Saadia Gaon. On returning to Morocco he wrote many poems and became famous, and there were even poems written about him. He taught grammar and poetry.

Hasdai ibn Shaprut, who lived in Córdoba, invited Dunash to Spain. Córdoba was then the center of culture and poetry in the Islamic world, and Hasdai endeavored to bring the best minds there. In Córdoba, Dunash met Menahem ben Saruq, also an important grammarian, though the two did not get along because of their many grammatical disputes as well as Menahem’s tough criticism of Saadia Gaon, Dunash’s mentor. Their dispute turned into personal rivalry, which included many polemic compositions and exchanges of accusations to Hasdai ibn Shaprut.