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Ashkenazi, Saul ben Moses Ha-Kohen


ASHKENAZI, SAUL BEN MOSES HA-KOHEN (c. 1470–1523), philosopher. Ashkenazi was born in Candia, Crete, and studied there with Elijah *Delmedigo. Later he lived in Constantinople. His best-known work is a set of 12 questions directed to Isaac *Abrabanel concerning the proper understanding of certain passages in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed and in works by the Muslim philosophers al-Ghazālī and Aver-roes. It was published under the title She'elot ha-Ray Sha'ul ha-Kohen (Venice, 1574; repr. Jerusalem, 1967–68) with Abrabanel's answers and some additions by other authors. Two other works of his are mentioned in his questions: Ir Elohim ("City of God") and Yekholet Adonai ("Power of the Lord"). Another of his works, Sefer ha-Takhliyyot ("Book of Goals"), devoted to problems of physics, is known to have been in the possession of Moses b. Samuel Kasani, who inherited his library.

In addition, Ashkenazi wrote glosses on Averroes' Physics. Reference is made to a syllogism composed by him. Finally, an epilogue he wrote to the book Beḥinat ha-Dat by his teacher Elijah Delmedigo is known. His opposition to the kabbalists drew the criticism of Joseph Solomon Delmedigo, who otherwise thought highly of him.


A. Geiger, Melo Ḥofnayim (1840), xxii–xxiii, 23, 64, 66, 72; M. Steinschneider, Catalog… Leiden (1858), 107–8; Steinschneider, Cat Bod, 2507, no. 7098. add. bibliography: B. Netanyahu, Don Isaac Abravanel (1972), index.

[Jacob Haberman]

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