David ben Judah

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DAVID BEN JUDAH (d. before 837?), exilarch in Babylonia. There was a controversy between the academies of Pumbedita and Sura concerning the candidate for the exilarchate. The academy of Pumbedita supported David b. Judah, while the academy of Sura supported his brother Daniel, supposedly a Karaite sympathizer. David b. Judah was finally appointed exilarch. This controversy degraded the prestige of the exilarchate and resulted in the decree of Caliph Maʿmun (813–33) authorizing the formation of independent religious sects. This decree strengthened the position of the Karaites, among others. In 833 David appointed R. Isaac b. R. Hunai (Ḥanina) as rosh yeshivah of Pumbedita. In a letter of 834 he stated that the sanctification of the new moon and the intercalation of the calendar were within the authority of the rabbis in Palestine. David's son Judah is mentioned as exilarch in 857.


Mann, Egypt, 1 (1920), 53; 2 (1922), 41f.; Mann, Texts, 2 (1935), 130; Goode, in: jqr, 31 (1940/41), 158; Assaf, in: Tarbiz, 1:2 (1930), 66ff.; S. Assaf (ed.), Sefer ha-Yishuv, 2 (1944), 10, no. 6; Abramson, Merkazim, 11–14; Lazarus, in: mgwj, 78 (1934), 279–88.

[Abraham David]