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Scholars And Poets

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Chapter Summary

The one and only well attested rabbinical personality in eleventh century Sicily was R. Messiah b. Eliah b. al-Basaq. He was the son of Eliah al- Dimunishī (i.e., Demenna) and his wife Umm al-Khayr (later) in Ragusa. He wrote a biography of Rav Hai, (perhaps at the behest of Samuel ha-Nagid), based on his experiences at the academy in Baghdad. The biographical epistle was referred to and passages were quoted from it by Samuel ha-Nagid, Moses Ibn Ezra and Joseph Ibn Aqnin, but it is no longer extant. The last year of Angevin domination of Sicily also saw the arrival in Messina of R. Abraham Abulafia, the mystic. He must have lived through all the turmoil of the Vespers and the armed conflict that followed them.

Keywords: Baghdad; Jewish scholar; poet; R. Masliah b. Eliah b. al-Basaq.; Rav Hai; Sicily

10.1163/ej.9789004192454.i-780.28
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