Daniel ben Shmuel ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen, Gaon of Yeshiva Geʾon Yaʿaqov

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Daniel ben Shmuel ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen, Gaon of Yeshiva Geʾon Yaʿaqov

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
Death: circa 1250 (78-95)
Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
Immediate Family:

Son of Shmuel ben Yaḥyā HaKohen ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen
Father of Azariah ben Daniel ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen and Shmuel ben Daniel ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen, Gaon of Yeshiva Geʾon Yaʿaqov

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About Daniel ben Shmuel ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen, Gaon of Yeshiva Geʾon Yaʿaqov

Daniel ben Samuel ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen succeeded Isaac ben Israel in 1248 as gaon of the main Babylonian yeshiva in Baghdad and continued in office until his death in 1250/51. The Arabic historian Ibn al-Fuwaṭī (p. 218) reports that when Daniel, accompanied by “a throng of Jews and a group of devotees of the dīwān,” was returning to the yeshiva “on foot” after being appointed by the chief qāḍī ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, he was met by “a group of the common people [who] interposed with the intent to stone him, yet they were rebuffed in their endeavor and prevented.” Whatever the cause of this incident may have been, Daniel appears to have been well regarded by the Jewish community as gaon, especially with respect to his literary and scholastic acumen. He is described in the longer of his two extant elegies by Eleazar ben Jacob ha-Bavli as “a man who straightened paths in the sea of wisdom; whom lions [i.e., great scholars] feared. . . . Who is able to master his prophetic musings?” (the shorter elegy, which is incomplete, was only recently published by van Bekkum, p. 154).

Daniel ben Samuel may have been the nephew of Hibat Allāh (ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen), a Baghdad gaon of whom nothing else is known except that he succeeded Daniel ben Eleazar (d. May 15, 1209) and preceded Isaac ha-Kohen ibn al-Awānī (appointed ca. 1212). Daniel ben Samuel was succeeded as gaon by ‘Alī ben Zechariah and survived by at least two sons, Azariah (mentioned by Eleazar ben Jacob; see van Bekkum, p. 46, l. 24) and Samuel, who was gaon by 1288 (per a letter by him of that date) after ‘Alī ben Zechariah.

Michael G. Wechsler

Bibliography

Ben-Jacob, Abraham. Yehude Bavel mi-Sof Tequfat ha-Geʾonim ‘ad Yamenu (Jerusalem: Kiriath-Sepher, 1965).

Fischel, Walter J. Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Mediaeval Islam, 2nd ed. (London, 1969).

Gil, Moshe. Be-Malkhut Yishmaʾʿel bi-Tqufat ha-Geʾonim, 4 vols. (Tel Aviv, 1997); rev. Eng. trans. of vol. 1 by D. Strassler, Jews in Islamic Countries in the Middle Ages (Leiden: Brill, 2004).

Ibn al-Fuwaṭī al-Baghdādī, Kamāl al-dīn ‘Abd al-Razzāq. al-Ḥawādith al-jāmiʿa wa-’l-Tajārib al-Nāfiʿa fī ʾl-Mi’a al-Sābiʿa (Baghdad, 1932).

Mann, Jacob. Texts and Studies in Jewish History and Literature, vol. 1 (Cincinnati, 1931).

van Bekkum, Wout Jac (ed.). The Secular Poetry of El‘azar ben Ya‘aqov ha-Bavli (Leiden: Brill, 2007).

Cite this page

Michael G. Wechsler. "Daniel ben Samuel ibn Abī ʿl-Rabīʾ ha-Kohen." Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Brill Online, 2013. <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-jews-...>

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