Nathan ben Abraham I

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NATHAN BEN ABRAHAM I (d. c. 1053), av bet din of the academy of Ereẓ Israel in Jerusalem. Nathan was a scion of one of the families whose members held respected positions in the academy. Around 1011 he traveled to Kairouan to settle the estate of his father, who had died there. He remained there for a number of years, studying under R. *Ḥushi'el. After the death of his maternal uncle, Rav ben Yoḥai, av bet din of the academy of Ereẓ Israel, Nathan claimed the position–although according to accepted custom it belonged to Tobiah, who ranked third in the academy–at the same time attempting to oust R. Solomon b. *Judah as gaon of the academy. In the struggle, Nathan was sponsored by Diaspora scholars, while Solomon b. Judah was supported by the local community and also favored by the Fatimid governor of *Ramleh. Nathan lived in Ramleh, attempting to assume the functions of gaon there, while Solomon still held his position in Jerusalem and issued a ban against Nathan. In 1042 both parties agreed that Nathan should succeed Solomon as gaon of the academy after the latter's death. However, when this occurred (before 1051) the office of gaon passed to Daniel b. *Azariah. Nothing is known of Nathan's teachings. In one of his letters of 1042 he mentions his son Abraham, whose son Nathan *ii was later av bet din of the academy.


J. Mann, in: huca, 3 (1926), 273–6; R. Gottheil and W.H. Worrell, Fragments from the Cairo Genizah in the Freer Collection (1927), 197–201; S. Assaf, in: Zion, 2 (1927), 115f.; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 323–45; S. Assaf and L.A. Mayer, Sefer ha-Yishuv, 2 (1944), index; Shapira, in: Yerushalayim, 4 (1953), 118–22; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 1 (1965), 240–3; Goitein, in: Tarbiz, 36 (1967), 62f.

[Abraham David]