ASHER BEN DAVID


ASHER BEN DAVID
ASHER BEN DAVID (first half of the 13th century), Provence kabbalist of the second generation of kabbalists and author of the first "book" of any length intended for a wider audience. His grandfather, R. Abraham b. David of Posquières, is considered the first known kabbalistic personality, although he refrained from acknowledging this status and from composing anything kabbalistic. His son, R. Isaac the Blind, uncle to R. Asher ben David, composed a highly enigmatic commentary to the Book of Creation, as he denied any literary activity in a celebrated letter to Nahmanides, in which he proclaimed allegiance to Nahmanides' stated policy of a complete reliance on oral transmission of kabbalistic secrets. R. Isaac suggests in this letter of defense that he has "no sign from heaven" to come himself to Spain and correct, or stop, the damage done by his students who were publicly disseminating texts or teachings, and mentions Asher as a possible emissary who could speak for his position on esotericism. We know, however, of no such visit by Asher, which would amount to an important and authorized link connecting the Provençal school directly with Spanish kabbalistic circles. Curiously, what has survived is a compendium of treatises edited into a lengthy work entitled Sefer ha-Yiḥud, the Book of Unity, in which Asher explains major kabbalistic concepts. It is unclear if this work was intended for the audience already exposed to ideas which emerged from Isaac's circle or whether it begins a new form of kabbalistic literature intended for other kabbalists. Sefer ha-Yiḥud is introduced by the first known kabbalistic poem. The treatises or chapters which comprise the book were often copied by kabbalists and survived in short and intermediate versions relative to the full length book, which may have been edited or expanded later by Asher or a student of the circle. A Latin translation of a section of Sefer ha-Yiḥud was prepared by Flavio Mithridates and survives in a single manuscript. An "epistle" attributed to Asher is now understood to be a collection of passages from his work. Finally, a highly popular Commentary to the Account of Creation is attributed to Asher, but his authorship of this work remains highly questionable, though it finds its place in a genre of literature which emerged from Provence. Asher makes one passing reference to an "aggadah," which might be from the sefer ha-bahir , although it is clear that his Kabbalah is not based on the traditions of that work, like that of his teachers and family members in Provence. The Kabbalah of Asher is nevertheless significantly different from that of his contemporaries in Gerona, Ezra and Azriel, students of Isaac. His complete works have been edited in a single volume. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Abrams, R. Asher ben David. His Complete Works and Studies in his Kabbalistic Thought (Heb., 1996); J. Dan and R. Elior, Kabbalat R. Asher ben David, Jerusalem (Heb., 1980); M. Rong-Wiznitzer, "Is Paris Ms. 767 Actually a Letter of Asher ben David," in: Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 3 (1982), 33–50 (Heb.); G. Scholem, Origins of the Kabbalah (1987), 93–94, 148–49, 171–74, 252–56, 303–7. (Daniel Abrams (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • BEN-NAPHTALI, MOSES (Or Jacob) BEN DAVID — BEN NAPHTALI, MOSES (Or Jacob) BEN DAVID, masorete. He is assumed to have been a contemporary of aaron b. moses ben asher , who dates from the ninth or tenth century C.E., and an inhabitant of Tiberias. Although nothing about him is known, except …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Asher Ben Yehiel — Rabbenou Asher ben Yehiel (1250, Allemagne 1327, Tolède,Espagne), dit le Rosh (hébreu הרא ש), est l’un des principaux décisionnaires de l’époque des Rishonim, les Maîtres médiévaux. Éminent talmudiste, il est l élève de Rabbi Meïr de Rothenburg.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Asher ben Jehiel — Asher ben Yehiel Rabbenou Asher ben Yehiel (1250, Allemagne 1327, Tolède,Espagne), dit le Rosh (hébreu הרא ש), est l’un des principaux décisionnaires de l’époque des Rishonim, les Maîtres médiévaux. Éminent talmudiste, il est l élève de Rabbi… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ASHER BEN SAUL — (late 12th and early 13th centuries), one of the sages of Lunel, later of Narbonne. Few biographical details are known about him and until recently many confused him with Asher b. Meshullam of Lunel. Asher was the younger brother of the kabbalist …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ASHER BEN JEHIEL — (also known as Asheri and Rosh; c. 1250–1327), talmudist. His first teachers were his father, one of the Ḥasidei Ashkenaz, who was a follower of , and his elder brother. He spent some time in France, apparently in Troyes, and then lived in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Asher ben Meshullam — Rabbeinu Asher ben Meshullam was a Jewish theologian and Talmudic scholar who lived at Lunel in the second half of the twelfth century CE. A renowned Talmudist, he was a son of the well known Rabbeinu Meshullam ben Jacob (Rabbeinu Meshullam… …   Wikipedia

  • Asher ben Yehiel — Rabbenou Asher ben Yehiel (1250, Allemagne 1327, Tolède,Espagne), dit le Rosh (hébreu הרא ש), est l’un des principaux décisionnaires de l’époque des Rishonim, les Maîtres médiévaux. Éminent talmudiste, il est l élève et le gendre de Rabbi Meïr de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ben Naphtali, Moses ben David — (fl. 10th cent)    Pal estinian masoretic scholar. He lived in Tiberias. Like his contemporary Aaron ben Moses Ben Asher, he edited the punctuation and accentuation of the Hebrew Bible. His version differs only in small details in about 850… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Anan Ben David — Pour les articles homonymes, voir David. Courants du judaïsme Fondamentaux Définitions : Judaïsme · Religion abrahamique · YHWH Courants apparentés au judaïsme : Mosaïsme · Yahwisme · …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Anan ben David — Pour les articles homonymes, voir David. Anan ben David (hébreu : ענן בן דוד, (v. 715 v. 795 ou 811 ?), est souvent considéré comme le fondateur du karaïsme (forme de judaïsme qui se sépara du judaïsme rabbinique par le rejet de la loi… …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.