Abraham ben Isaac of Montpellier

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ABRAHAM BEN ISAAC OF MONTPELLIER

ABRAHAM BEN ISAAC OF MONTPELLIER (d. c. 1315), talmudist of Provence, a contemporary of Menahem b. Solomon ha-*Meiri. Little is known of his life. He was born in Montpellier about 1250, and toward the end of his life settled in Carpentras. Abraham b. Isaac was known for his liberal outlook. When *Abba Mari Astruc wrote to him concerning the Maimonidean controversy and the proposed prohibition of the study of philosophy to anyone under 25 years old Abraham urged Abba Mari to desist from the controversy because freedom of thought and opinion should not be suppressed (Minḥat Kena'ot, 92). Abraham wrote a commentary on most of the Talmud, based principally on the views of Maimonides. He gives a brief commentary on the text in the style of Rashi; at the end of each topic he gives the practical halakhah derived from it. Only a minor part of this commentary has been published, including his commentary on Kiddushin appearing in the Romm 1880 edition of the Talmud (wrongly ascribed to Isaac of Dampierre) and those on Yevamot, Nedarim, and Nazir (New York, 1962). His commentaries to many other tractates were familiar to later scholars such as Moses *Alashkar and Menahem de *Lonzano, but they were not generally known. *David b. Ḥayyim ha-Kohen of Corfu wrote: "I have hitherto heard nothing of him as an authority" (Responsa, Bayit 5, Ḥeder 1), but at the end of that same responsum he added that he had come across the commentary "and I rejoiced greatly … he was an outstanding scholar." Some of Abraham's responsa are extant. In addition to those which appear at the end of his commentary to Nazir there are those which appear in Teshuvot Ḥakhmei Provin ẓyah (1967), ed. by A. Sofer. There is no evidence that he was related to *Solomon b. Abraham of Montpellier. It is strange that he does not mention in his works the names of any scholars after Moses b. Naḥman.

bibliography:

Avraham min ha-Har, Perush al Massekhet Yevamot Nedarim ve-Nazir, ed. by M.J. Blau (1962), preface; I. Lévi, in: rej, 38 (1899), 102–22; Shatzmiler, in: Sefunot, 10 (1966), 17–18.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]