BEN LA'ANAH (Heb. בֶּן לַעֲנָה), name of the author of an unknown apocryphal work. The Jerusalem Talmud (Sanh. 10:1, 28a), includes the book of Ben La'anah among the works forbidden to be read (cf. Eccles. R. 12:12 where the reading is Ben Tiglah). However, except for a reference by David Messer Leon in the 16th century to an apocryphal work called Ben Ya'anah (בֶּן יַעֲנָה), which may be identical with Ben La'anah, nothing is known about the book or the author. Various scholars have tried to identify him either with the pagan philosopher Apollonius of Tyana (M. Joel), or with the author of a collection of fox fables Mishlei Shu'alim (J. Fuerst), but none of these theories is regarded as satisfactory. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Perles, in: REJ, 3 (1881), 116–8; Kaufmann, ibid., 4 (1882), 161; Klein, in: Leshonenu, 1 (1928/29), 340, 344.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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