Anatoli ben Joseph

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ANATOLI BEN JOSEPH (late 12th and early 13th century), dayyan at Alexandria. Apparently from Lunel in Languedoc, he was one of the European scholars who settled in Alexandria in the days of *Maimonides. Toward the end of his life he lived in Fostat (now Cairo). He was apparently the uncle of *Abraham b. Nathan ha-Yarḥi, author of Ha-Manhig (ed. Warsaw, (1885), 90b, no. 156). Anatoli was widely renowned as a halakhist, communities from various countries turning to him with halakhic problems and requesting his assistance in different matters. When, on one occasion, the Jews of Syracuse submitted a problem to him, he was unwilling to answer himself and asked Maimonides to decide the issue. Maimonides' reply shows the high esteem in which he held Anatoli (Responsa, ed. by J. Blau, 2 (1960), 620–3). Anatoli's Iggeret Mehallelim ("The Epistle of Those who Praise"), addressed to Maimonides, expresses his great desire for knowledge and to be in close contact with him (Ḥemdah Genuzah, ed. Z.H. Edelman, 1856, 1, 23a–24a). He also corresponded on halakhic subjects with Maimonides' son Abraham who addressed him as "the illustrious dayyan, our teacher and master, the eminent Anatoli" (Responsa, ed. by A. Freimann (1937), 161–72). Several piyyutim and seliḥot are ascribed to him and he also wrote secular poems, including wine songs (see Anatoli's Mikhtamim al ha-Yayin, ed. A.M. Habermann, 1940). His Diwan is extant in manuscript in the Firkovitch Collection in Leningrad.


Mann, Egypt, 1 (1920), 247 ff.; 2 (1922), 324 ff.; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 412–5; B.Z. Halper, in: Ha-Tekufah (1923), 209; J. Braslavi, in: Eretz Israel, 4 (1956), 156–8.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]