Asher ben Meshullam Ha-Kohen of Lunel

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ASHER BEN MESHULLAM HA-KOHEN OF LUNEL

ASHER BEN MESHULLAM HA-KOHEN OF LUNEL (late 12th century), Provençal talmudist; known as the "Rosh of Lunel." He was the son of *Meshullam b. Jacob of Lunel and brother of *Aaron b. Meshullam of Lunel. He lived an ascetic life and was referred to as a parush ("hermit") by Benjamin of Tudela. Judah ibn Tibbon, who copied for Asher the Tikkun Middot ha-Nefesh of Ibn Gabirol (Steinschneider, Oẓerot Ḥayyim, 366), praised Asher for his positive attitude toward science and encouraged his son's friendship with Asher. Few of his responsa and decisions have been preserved in the works of others, and only fragments of his halakhic works have been preserved. Several talmudic comments quoted in the Sefer ha-Hashlamah of his nephew, *Meshullam b. Moses, are attributed to Asher, as well as a treatise on the laws of niddui and ḥerem ("banning and excommunication"). Asher was the author of Sefer ha-Mattanot (extracts of which were published by S. Assaf – see bibliography), a work which is modeled on the Sefer ha-Mattanah of Samuel b. Hophni. Asher apparently wrote a comprehensive work covering the whole of civil law of which Sefer ha-Mattanot formed only a part. The whole book was based on the Sefer ha-Din of Judah b. Barzillai al-Bargeloni.

bibliography:

J. Lubetzky (ed.), Sefer ha-Hashlamah, 1 (1885), x–xii (pref.); S. Assaf, Mi-Sifrut ha-Ge'onim (1933), 1–31; Gross, Gal Jud, 280–1; E. Urbach, Mazkeret … Herzog (1962), 411–3.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]