Who is Abba Mari


ABBA MARI, was a French rabbi and scholar of the late 13th and early 14th centuries who was one of the leaders of the Jewish community of Montpellier in France. His full name was Abba Mari ben Moses Ha-Yarhi; he was also known as Don Astruc of Lunel. A strong opponent of Maimonides and his rationalistic philosophy, Abba Mari persuaded Solomon ben Adret of Barcelona, one of the greatest rabbinical authorities of his day, to issue a ban in 1305 against secular and philosophical studies by students under the age of 30.

A counterban was then issued by Jacob ben Makhir ibn Tibbon, a leading astronomer, mathematician, and translator of scholarly and philosophical works from Arabic into Hebrew, who also lived in Montpellier. The dispute was ended, stili unresolved, by the expulsion of the Jews from France in 1306. Abba Mari went to Arles and thence to Perpignan, where he compiled the story of the controversy in a book entitled Minhat Kenaot (Offering of Zeal).

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