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MEÏR BEN SIMEON OF NARBONNE:

Talmudist and controversialist; lived at Narbonne in the second half of the thirteenth century. He was a disciple of Nathan ben Meïr of Trinquetaille, and a contemporary of Naḥmanides, with whom he maintained a scientific correspondence. Meïr enjoyed a high reputation as a commentator. Asher ben David invokes his authority in his (Asher's) commentary on the thirteen attributes (); and the anonymous commentator on the Targum Onḳlos highly praises Meïr in his "Patshegen."

Meïr was the author of a controversial work entitled "Milḥemet Miẓwah" (Parma MSS. No. 2749). It is divided into five parts: (1) an account of a religious disputation held in 1245 before the bishop En Guillem de la Broa and in the presence of the Jewish notables of Narbonne and Capestang; (2) controversies with Christian ecclesiastics; (3) conversations of an apologetic nature, and explanations of Biblical passages concerning the Messiah and of Talmudical haggadot interpreted by Christians in favor of their belief; (4) commentary on the "Shema'" and on the thirteen attributes of God; and (5) letter on the "Sefer ha-Baḥr," which work Meïr declares to be a forgery.

Another work by Meïr, entitled "Meshib Nefesh," defending the first chapter of Maimonides' "Yad ha-Ḥazạḳah" against the attacks of an anonymous writer, is also extant in manuscript (MS. Ginzburg, No. 572, 10).

According to Neubauer ("Isr. Letterbode," iii. 57), Meïr is identical with the Meïr ben Simeon mentioned in a Talmudical compilation (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 1558, 2, § 665) and in other works, where he is sometimes called "HaMe'ili."

Bibliography:
  • Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. xvi. 44, 67;
  • Neubauer, in Archives des Missions, 3d series, i. 556;
  • Lubetzki, Introduction to Sefer Hashlamah;
  • Gross, in Monatsschrift, 1874, p. 571;
  • idem, Gallia Judaica, pp. 423-425;
  • Renan-Neubauer, Les Rabbins Français, pp. 558 et seq.
S. S. I. Br.
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