Ibn Shuaib, Joshua

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IBN SHUAIB, JOSHUA

IBN SHUAIB, JOSHUA (first half of 14th century), Spanish scholar. Few biographical details are known of him. He was a pupil of Solomon b. Abraham *Adret (the Rashba), whose statements and customs he frequently cites. He lived and was active in Navarra, where *Menahem b. Aaron ibn Zeraḥ was his pupil (1328); according to some scholars he resided in Tudela. Ibn Shuaib's fame rests upon his book, Derashot…, containing sermons on the Pentateuch – a collection of the weekly sermons which he delivered in the local synagogue. The first edition appeared in Constantinople in 1523; the second in Cracow in 1573 (both editions are very rare, but a photostatic copy of the Cracow edition was published in Jerusalem, 1969). The book is replete with halakhah, Jewish thought, *Kabbalah, and musar and its many epigrams give it a special charm. Ibn Shuaib reveals a complete mastery of the works of Ibn Gabirol, Judah Halevi, Abraham Ibn Ezra, *Maimonides, and Baḥya ibn Paqūda, and many of the halakhic works from the geonic period to his own day. He was unusually well-versed in the Kabbalah, and his interest in it is pronounced in this work. He quotes from the Sefer Yeẓirah, Sefer ha-Bahir, and the Zohar, from the kabbalist *Ezra b. Solomon of Gerona, and also from kabbalistic passages in the Bible commentary of *Naḥmanides. He regarded Naḥmanides' work as the ideal combination of philosophy and Kabbalah, both of which had a special attraction for him. As a result he frequently quotes Naḥmanides, sometimes anonymously. In addition he makes extensive use of the two Talmuds and the aggadic Midrashim and extensively and frequently quotes the prevailing customs of Catalonia and France. He delivered his sermons, at least in part, before 1310, as is evident from his mention of Adret as a living contemporary. His chief aim in the sermons was to urge the observance of precepts which were disregarded or neglected, and he also frequently stressed the importance of the synagogue, the need to have recourse to Jewish courts of law, and the like. Ibn Shuaib also wrote a commentary on kabbalistic passages in Naḥmanides' commentary, and some scholars think that the commentary published in the name of Meir ibn *Sahula (Be'ur Perush ha-Ramban al ha-Torah) is basically that of Ibn Shuaib adapted by Ibn Sahula. It is known that other pupils of Solomon b. Abraham Adret similarly applied themselves to commenting on these passages of Naḥmanides and they criticized Ibn Shuaib's commentary, accusing him of distortion and misunderstanding the true meaning of the passages. Both editions of the sermons are full of printers' errors and rare but they have been in the possession of scholars down to the present day.

bibliography:

G. Scholem, in: ks, 6 (1929/30), 109–18; idem, in: Tarbiz, 24 (1954/55), 294f.; A. Freimann, in: Annuario di Studi Ebraici, 1 (1934), 149–52; Loewinger, in: Sefunot, 7 (1963), 11; S. Abramson, introd. to facsimile edition of Derashot al ha-Torah le-R. Yehoshu'a ibn Shua'ib (1969).

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]