Abbas, Judah ben Samuel Ibn

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ABBAS, JUDAH BEN SAMUEL IBN , moderate rationalist author active sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries. Ibn Abbas' most important contribution was the rationalist ethical and educational work Ya'ir Nativ ("He Will Light the Way"). Ibn Abbas also wrote a short book on ethics, Mekor Ḥayyim ("Fountain of Life"), and two other books which have not survived, Me'ir Einayim ("Light of the Eyes"), on the reasons for the commandments, and a commentary on Aristotle's Organon.

In Ya'ir Nativ, Ibn Abbas criticized the extremists on both sides of the controversy over philosophy. On the one hand, he criticized the extreme rationalists for their philosophical *antinomianism and for their laxity in, or even mocking, observance of the commandments. On the other hand, he was critical of the "talmudist" rabbis who studied only Talmud and not philosophy. He was thus a model of the moderate rationalism of the period. Ibn Abbas became famous for the curriculum of studies presented in Ya'ir Nativ. The curriculum was printed several times.


S. Asaf, in: S. Glueck (ed.), Sources for the History of Education in Israel (1961), 65–69; D. Schwartz, in: Tarbiz, 62 (1993), 585–615.

[Dov Schwartz (2nd ed.)]