Abba Mari "Don Astruc" ben Moses Yarhi (de Lunel) (c.1240 - c.1310)

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Nicknames: "Abba Mari Yarhi", "Don Astruc", "real name: Abba Mari Ha Levi"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Death: Died in Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Managed by: Herman Frances
Last Updated:

About Abba Mari "Don Astruc" ben Moses Yarhi (de Lunel)

Astruc of Lunel

Jewish zealot

original name Abba Mari ben Moses ben Joseph, also called Don Astruc, or ha-Yareaḥ (“The Moon”)

born 1250?, Lunel, near Montpellier, Fr.

died after 1306

Main

anti-rationalist Jewish zealot who incited Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham Adret of Barcelona, the most powerful rabbi of his time, to restrict the study of science and philosophy, thereby nearly creating a schism in the Jewish community of Europe.

Although Astruc revered Maimonides, who had attempted to reconcile Aristotle’s philosophy with Judaism, he deplored what he considered the excesses of Maimonides’ followers, who, he believed, undermined the Jewish faith by interpreting the Bible allegorically. They even seemed to take as a religious guide Aristotle himself, whose teachings were often said by the anti-Aristotelians to be “a jar of honey about which a dragon is wrapped.”

In a series of letters, Astruc persuaded Rabbi Adret to issue a ban in 1305 forbidding, on pain of excommunication, the study or teaching of science and philosophy by those under the age of 25. This ban provoked a counterban by other Jewish leaders against those who followed Adret’s proscription. A threatened schism among the Jewish communities of France and Spain was averted only in 1306, when Philip IV expelled the Jews from France. Astruc then settled in Perpignan, the mainland capital of the kingdom of Majorca, and vanished from view. But he published his correspondence with Rabbi Adret, which primarily concerned the restrictions on studies. Minḥat qenaot (“Meal Offering of Jealousy”), as the collected correspondence is entitled, reveals much of the religious and philosophical conflicts of Judaism in that era. The epithet ha-Yareaḥ is derived from his polemical work Sefer ha-yareaḥ (“The Book of the Moon”), the title of which refers to the town of Lunel (French lune, meaning “moon”).

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Abba Mari "Don Astruc" ben Moses Yarhi's Timeline

1240
1240
Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
1270
1270
Age 30
1276
1276
Age 36
Carpentras, France
1277
1277
Age 37
Carpentras, France
1277
Age 37
Beziers, France
1279
1279
Age 39
L'Argentière-la-Bessée, Hautes-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
1294
1294
Age 54
Salon, France
1300
1300
Age 60
1303
1303
Age 63
Lunel, France
1303
Age 63
Beziers, France