In this week's class on Ibn Ezra, we'll take a look at his approach through the prism of his commentary on the Eigel, and then we'll look at his Secret of the Twelve. In the latter discussion we'll see two opposite approaches - that of Spinoza, and l'havdil that of Rav Yosef Tuv Elem in his 14th century commentary to Ibn Ezra's commentary on the Torah.
You can find much of my thinking on Ibn Ezra's commentary on the Eigel here.
Here are some sources to prepare for our "Secret of the Twelve" discussion:
Talmud, Makkot 11a
It is written (Yehoshua 24), ‘And Yehoshua recorded all of these things in the book of the Torah of Gd.’ R’ Yehudah and R’ Nechemiah disagreed - one said this refers to the [last] 8 verses, the other said it refers to the cities of refuge [in the book of Yehoshua].
Talmud, Menachot 30a
It is written, ’And Moshe, the servant of Gd, died there.’ Can it be that Moshe was alive and yet he wrote. ‘And Moshe died there?’ Rather, until this point Moshe wrote it, and from then on Yehoshua ben Nun wrote. This is the view of R’ Yehudah, or perhaps R’ Nechemiah.
Rabbi Shimon replied, ‘Can it be that the Torah was missing even a single letter? It is written (Devarim 31), ‘Take this scroll of the Torah and place it!’ Rather, until this point HaShem spoke and Moshe recorded it and recited it aloud. From here on, HaShem spoke and Moshe recorded it with tears.’
Talmud, Sanhedrin 99a
It is written (Bamidbar 15), ‘For he has disgraced the word of Gd and annulled His commandment; he shall be cut off’ - This refers to a person who says that Torah is not from Heaven…
It is written (Bamidbar 15), ‘For he has disgraced the word of Gd’ - This refers to a person who says that Torah is not from Heaven. And even if he says, ‘The entire Torah is from Heaven except for this verse which Gd did not say but rather Moshe said it on his own,’ that is ‘For he has disgraced the word of Gd.’ And even if he says, ‘The entire Torah is from Heaven except for this lesson or this logical deduction or this pleonasm, that is ‘For he has disgraced the word of Gd.’
Comment of Ibn Ezra to Bereishit 12:6
It is possible that the Canaanites took Canaan from others. If not, then there is a secret, and one who has insight will be silent.
Comment of Ibn Ezra to Devarim 1:2
And if you will understand the secret of the 12, and ‘And Moshe wrote (Devarim 31:22),’ and ‘And the Canaanite was then in the land (Bereishit 12:6),’ and ‘On the mountain Gd will be seen (Bereishit 22:14),’ and ‘His bed is a bed of iron (Devarim 3:11),’ you will recognize the truth.
Comment of Ibn Ezra to Devarim 34:1
In my opinion, Yehoshua wrote from this verse onward, for after Moshe ascended he did not write; Yehoshua wrote it in the manner of prophecy. The proof is ‘And Gd showed him,’ and ‘And Gd said to him,’ and ‘And He buried.’
Comment of Ibn Ezra to Bereishit 36:31
Some say that this portion was written in the manner of prophecy. Yitzchaki wrote in his book that this portion was written in the days of Yehoshafat, and he explained the generations as he wished. For this is his name called Yitzchak, for all who hear will laugh for him; he said Hadar is Hadar the Edomite and Meheitavel is the sister of Tachpanches. Chalilah v’chalilah that it should be as he said, from the days of Yehoshafat; his book deserves to be burned!