Joseph ben Justu of Jaén

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JOSEPH BEN JUSTU OF JAÉN (early 12th century), Spanish scholar. Joseph was a pupil of Isaac *Alfasi. *Zerahiah b. Isaac ha-Levi (Ha-Ma'or, to Alfasi Pes. ch. 2) notes that he came from "the province of Jaén" but the exact location is unknown. From a parallel passage in Ma'or (Av. Zar. ch. 5, fol. 31b) it may possibly be inferred that Joseph lived in North Africa for some time after the death of Alfasi. The material extant by him or about him is very scanty. It is known that Alfasi charged him with circulating his "amendments" to various halakhot of his large work (see Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim by A. Harkavy (1887), 258, no. 519), and on one occasion he is found testifying after Alfasi's death to the fact that Alfasi had changed his mind (Ha-Ma'or, loc. cit.). Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim contains a collection of his queries to Alfasi and the latter's replies, but it is not possible to determine where the collection ends or how many paragraphs it contained. Only a fragment of one of Joseph's own responsa remains preserved in a responsum of Joseph *Ibn Migash (quoted in Shitah Mekubbeẓet to BK 108b). Some scholars are of the opinion that the name Justu is an abbreviation of Justus (Zedekiah). It may be that Joseph is identical with Joseph b. Abraham b. Seth (Shet), a collection of whose queries to Alfasi and the latter's replies were also published in Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim (51 no. 83ff.), and that Seth (שת, Shet) should read ישת (Yeshet), i.e., Justu.


S. Shefer, Ha-Rif u-Mishnato (1967), 18–19.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]

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Joseph ben Justu of Jaén

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