Bonfils (Tov Elem), Joseph ben Eliezer

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BONFILS (Tov Elem), JOSEPH BEN ELIEZER (second half of the 14th century), author of a supercommentary on the biblical commentary of Abraham *Ibn Ezra. Joseph was born in Spain and journeyed to the East. In *Damascus, in 1370, at the request of the nagid David b. Joshua he wrote a supercommentary, Ẓafenat Paʿane'aḥ, on Ibn Ezra's commentary on the Pentateuch – the most exhaustive and precise of the many supercommentaries on Ibn Ezra. In a clear and comprehensive exposition he solves Ibn Ezra's "enigmas" and defends him against the suspicion of heresy which certain of his critical views (with which Joseph manifestly sympathizes) had aroused against him. The supercommentary was published, but with the omission of the passages dealing with the critical views, under the title Ohel Yosef, in Margalit Tovah (1722), an anthology of supercommentaries on Ibn Ezra, and later in a critical edition by D. Herzog (1912–1930). From Damascus, Joseph went to settle in Jerusalem.


M.Z. Segal, in: ks, 9 (1932/33), 302–4, no. 1025; Krauss, in: Sinai, 5 (Bucharest, 1933); N. Ben-Menahem, in: Sinai, 9 (1941), 353–5.