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BAIDAWI ('Abdallah ibn 'Umar al-BaidawI)

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Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 215 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BAIDAWI ('Abdallah ibn 'Umar al-BaidawI), Mahommedan critic, was born in Fars, where his father was chief judge, in the time of the Atabek ruler Abu Bakr ibn Sa'd (1226–1260). He himself became judge in Shiraz, and died in Tabriz about 1286. His chief work is the commentary on the Koran entitled The Secrets of Revelation and the Secrets of Interpretation (Asrar uttanzil wa Asr¢r ut-ta' wil). This work is in the main a digest of the great Mu'tazalite commentary (al-Kashshaf) of Zamakhshari (q.v.) with omissions and additional notes. By the orthodox Moslems it is considered the standard commentary and almost holy, though it is not complete in its treatment of any branch of theological or linguistic knowledge of which it treats, and is not always accurate (cf. Th. Noldeke's Geschichte des Qorans, Gottingen, r86o, p. 29). It has been edited by H. O. Fleischer (2 vols., Leipzig, 1846–1848; indices ed. W. Fell, Leipzig, 1878). There are many editions published in the East. A selection with numerous notes was edited by D. S. Margoliouth as Chrestomathia Beidawiana (London, 1894). Many supercommentaries have been written on Baidawi's work. He was also the author of several theological treatises. See C. Brockelmann's Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur (Weimar, 1898), vol. i. pp. 416-418. (G. W. T.) BAIF, JEAN ANTOINE DE (1532-1589), French poet and member of the Pleiade, was born at Venice in 1532, He was the natural son of the scholar Lazare de Baif, who was at that time French ambassador at Venice. Thanks, perhaps, to the surroundings of his childhood, he grew up an enthusiast for the fine arts, and surpassed in zeal all the leaders of the Renaissance in France. His father spared no pains to secure the best possible education for his son. The boy was taught Latin by Charles Estienne, and Greek by Ange Vergece, the Cretan scholar and calligraphist who designed Greek types for Francis I. When he was eleven years old he was put under the care of the famous Jean Daurat (q.v.). Ronsard, who was eight years his senior, now began to share his studies. Claude Binet tells how young Baif, bred on Latin and Greek, smoothed out the tiresome beginnings of the Greek language for Ronsard, who in return initiated his companion into the mysteries of French versification. Baif possessed an extraordinary facility, and the mass of his work has injured his reputation. Besides a number of volumes of short poems of an amorous or congratulatory kind, he translated or paraphrased various pieces from Bion, Moschus, Theocritus, Anacreon, Catullus and Martial. He resided in Paris, and enjoyed the continued favour of the court. He founded in 1567 an academic de musique et de poesie,' with the idea of establishing a closer union between music and poetry; his house became famous for the charming concerts which he gave, entertainments at which Charles IX. and Henry III. frequently flattered him with their presence. Baif elaborated a system for regulating French versification by quantity. In this he was not 'a pioneer. Jacques de la Taille had written in 1562 the Maniere de faire des vers en francais comme en grec et en latin (printed 1573), and other poets had made experiments in the same direction. The 16th-century poets did not realize the 1 For an account of this academy see Edouard Fremy, Les Origines de l'Academie Franeaise (1887). incompatibility of the system of quantity with French rhythm. Baif's innovations included a line of 15 syllables known as the vers baifin. He also meditated reforms in French spelling. His theories are exemplified in Etrenes de poezie Franzoeze an vers mezures (1514). His works were published in 4 volumes, entitled Euvres en rime (1573), consisting of Amours, Jeux, Passetemps, et Poemes, containing, among much that is now hardly readable, some pieces of infinite grace and delicacy. His sonnet on the Roman de la Rose was said to contain the whole argument of that celebrated work, and Colletet says it was on everybody's lips. He also wrote a celebrated sonnet in praise of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew. Baif was the author of two comedies, L'Eunuque, 1565 (published 1573), a free translation of Terence, and Le Brave (1567), an imitation of the Miles Gloriosus, in which the characters of Plautus are turned into Frenchmen, the action taking place at Orleans. Baif published a collection of Latin verse in, 1577, and in 1576 a popular volume of Mimes, enseignemens et proverbes. He died in 1589. His father, Lazare de Baif,' published a translation of the Electra of Sophocles in 1537, and afterwards a version of the Hecuba; he was an elegant writer of Latin verse, and is commended by Joachim du Bellay as having introduced certain valuable words into the French language. The iEuvres en rime (g vols., 1881–1890) of J. A. de Baif form part of the Pleiade franQaise of M. Ch. Marty-Laveaux. See also Becq de Fouquieres, Poesies choisies de J. A. de Baif (1874), with a valuable introduction; and F. Brunetiere, Hist. de la lilt. franraise classique (1904, bk. iii. pp. 398-422).
End of Article: BAIDAWI ('Abdallah ibn 'Umar al-BaidawI)
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