Moses ben Joseph ben Merwan Levi

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MOSES BEN JOSEPH BEN MERWAN LEVI (12th century), one of the renowned scholars of Narbonne. Moses belonged to a distinguished family. His grandfather "was very pious, a man of substance and of good deeds, benefiting Israel with his wealth, and causing many evil decrees to be revoked." His uncle, under whom he studied, was Isaac b. Merwan Levi, rabbi of Narbonne. His father was also a scholar, and his brother Meir one of the scholars of Narbonne. Moses himself was head of a yeshivah and a member of the bet din of Narbonne headed by *Abraham b. Isaac. Most of the scholars of Narbonne were pupils of Moses, among them *Abraham b. David and *Zerahiah b. Isaac ha-Levi. A commentary which he wrote on most of the Talmud is no longer extant. The few quotations from it in the works of the scholars of Provence and Catalonia show it to have been written in the style of the early German and French scholars, with the aim of establishing the halakhah. It was intended (though not in the manner of a polemic) to defend the old Provençal traditions against the influence of the Spanish school in Lunel in the 12th century, the prime exponent of which was Abraham b. Isaac who follows in the steps of *Alfasi and *Judah b. Barzillai al-Bargeloni. In addition to his commentary, Moses' responsa and customs are also quoted in that literature. He exerted a great influence on the scholars of Provence and Catalonia, particularly on Zerahiah ha-Levi and *Naḥmanides, who quote him extensively.


Benedikt, in: Tarbiz, 19 (1948), 19–34; 22 (1951), 85–109; I. Twersky, Rabad of Posquières (1962), index.

[Binyamin Zeev Benedikt]

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Moses ben Joseph ben Merwan Levi

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