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Samuel ben Hananiah


SAMUEL BEN HANANIAH (12th century), *nagid of Egyptian Jewry. Samuel, who was known by the Arabs as Abu Manṣūr, was descended from a family of scholars. He himself was well versed in Jewish learning. Like his father, he was a physician and was one of the physicians in the court of the *Fatimid caliphs. In 1134, when Caliph al-Ḥāfiẓ requested that he prepare a poison for his son Ḥasan, he refused; a Christian physician agreed to do so. Later, the caliph regretted his action, the Christian physician was put to death, and Samuel was appointed chief court physician. The documents found in the Cairo *Genizah which mention Samuel as nagid are dated between 1142 and 1159. When the poet *Judah Halevi arrived in *Alexandria, Samuel invited him to *Cairo. Judah Halevi then became friendly with him and praised him in several poems. Samuel was supplanted for a short time by *Zuta.


Mann, Egypt, index; Mann, Texts, index; Abramson, in: ks, 29 (1953/54), 133–44; M. Margalioth, Hilkhot ha-Nagid (1962), 68–73; Scheiber, in: Tarbiz, 36 (1966/67), 156–7.

[Eliyahu Ashtor]

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