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MASHIAḤ, ḤASUN BEN:

Karaite scholar; flourished in Egypt (or Babylonia) in the first half of the tenth century. According to Steinschneider, "Ḥasun" is a corrupted form of the Arabic name "Ḥusain," the ו being easily confounded in manuscript with the י Ḥasun, or, as he is generally quoted by the Karaite authorities, Ben Mashiaḥ, was a younger contemporary of Saadia Gaon, whom, according to Sahl ben Maẓliaḥ in his "Tokaḥat Megullah," he once challenged to a religious controversy. Ḥasun was the author of a polemical work, written probably in Arabic, in which he refuted one of Saadia's unpublished anti-Karaite writings, which came into his possession after the death of the author. Owing to a misunderstanding of a passage (§ 258) in the "Eshkol ha-Kofer" of Hadassi, Ḥasun was erroneously credited with the authorship of the anonymous chapter, on the theodicy, entitled "Sha'ar Ẓedeḳ" (St. Petersburg, Firkovich MSS. Nos. 683, 685), in the religio-philosophical work "Zikron ha-Datot," and of "Ḳuppat ha-Rokelim." Simḥah Isaac Luzki attributes to Ḥasun also a work on the precepts ("Sefer ha-Miẓwot"). Abraham ibn Ezra, in his introduction to the commentary on the Pentateuch, quotes a Karaite scholar named Ben Mashiaḥ, who is probably identical with Ḥasun.

Mount Masada in Judea.(From a photograph by Bonfils.)
Bibliography:
  • Pinsker, Liḳḳuṭe Ḳadmoniyyot, p. 114;
  • Fürst, Gesch. des Karäert. ii. 46;
  • Gottlober, Biḳḳoret le-Toledot ha-Ḳera'im, p. 168;
  • Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. iv. 48;
  • idem, Cat. Bodl. p. 2169;
  • idem, Cat. Leyden, p. 390;
  • idem, Hebr. Uebers. p. 460;
  • idem, Die Arabische Literatur der Juden, § 41.
S. I. Br.
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