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JOSEPH BEN ASHER OF CHARTRES

JOSEPH BEN ASHER OF CHARTRES (12th–13th centuries), liturgical poet. Joseph was the brother-in-law of Joseph b. Nathan of Etampes, and granduncle of Joseph b. Nathan Official. The latter reports in his apologetic for Judaism (Yosefha-Mekanne, no. 24) that Joseph engaged in a disputation with a Christian clergyman. To the latter's question as to why God had appeared to Moses in a bramblebush, rather than in a tree, Joseph is said to have replied that it was because a cross could not be made from a bramblebush. According to Gedaliah *ibn Yahia, Joseph was a pupil of Jacob b. Meir *Tam and *Samuel b. Meir. His notes on the Bible are cited in a few commentaries in manuscript (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Bodl. Or. 604; Ms. Marsh. 225; Ms. Opp. 724). He is also known as the author of an elegy on the massacre at York, 1190.

bibliography:

Zunz, Lit Poesie, 470, 480; Z. Kahn, in: rej, 1 (1880), 238, 240, 246; Gross, Gal Jud, 603–5; C. Roth, in: Mezudah, 2 (1944), 116–21; A.M. Habermann, Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Ẓarefat (1945), 152–4, 260f.

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Joseph ben Asher of Chartres

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