Levi ben Japheth

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LEVI BEN JAPHETH

LEVI BEN JAPHETH (Abū Saʿīd ; 10th–11th century), Karaite scholar, son of *Japheth b. Ali. Levi b. Japheth lived in Jerusalem and wrote, in Arabic, a "Book of Precepts," a work which was used by almost all the later Karaite writers. Only fragments of the Arabic original are preserved. Manuscripts of the Hebrew translation, Sefer ha-Mitzvot, are extant in Oxford, Leningrad, and Leiden. In his interpretation of the law, Levi distinguished between the views of the early and later *Rabbanites, numbering *Saadiah Gaon among the latter and frequently censuring him severely. He also wrote a short commentary on the Bible (only fragments of this, too, remain), and is said to have compiled an abridged version of David b. Abraham *Alfasi's dictionary, Agron.

bibliography:

S. Poznański, Karaite Literary Opponents of Saadiah Gaon (1908), 42–46; Z. Ankori, Karaites in Byzantium (1959), index, s.v.Levi b. Yefeth.

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