Dosa ben Saadiah

views updated


DOSA BEN SAADIAH (930–1017), head of the academy of Sura, and son of *Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon. It was not until 1013, 71 years after his father's death, that, at the age of 83, he became gaon of Sura. Though only a few of the responsa of Dosa have survived, the new spirit of halakhah introduced into the academy by his father, and by his predecessor R. *Samuel b. Ḥophni, is readily recognizable in them. During Dosa's lifetime Babylonia went into decline and Spanish scholars not only began to emancipate themselves from the authority of the geonim but even to compete with them. When R. *Samuel ha-Nagid wrote his commentary on complex talmudic subjects, in which he strongly criticized the explanations of Hai Gaon, Dosa hastened to Hai's support and vigorously defended him. At the request of Ḥasdai ibn Shaprut, Dosa wrote a monograph on his father's life, of which only fragments have survived. In addition to his responsa, Dosa wrote commentaries on the Talmud and philosophical works, none of which has been preserved. He studied the sciences and religious philosophy. One of his works was devoted to the problem of creatio ex nihilo.


M. Margalioth, Hilkhot ha-Nagid (1962), 31ff.; Poznański, in: Ha-Goren, 6 (1905), 41; Levin, Oẓar, 12 (1943), 14; Assaf, in: Tarbiz, 6 (1934/35), 230; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 7, 116–7, 145, 153.

[Mordecai Margaliot]