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MOSCONI, JUDAH LEON BEN MOSES:

Bulgarian scholar and Talmudist; born at Ocrida 1328. Owing to the wars which agitated Bulgaria in the fourteenth century, Mosconi left his native country about 1360. He traveled in all the three continents of the Old World. He was in Chios and Cyprus, in Négropont (where he became the pupil of Shemariah b. Elijah al-Iḳriṭi), in Laodicea, and later in Egypt (where he studied under Obadiah Miẓri, to whom he owed "the greatest part of his learning"). He was afterward in Morocco, in Italy, and in France. In Perpignan he made the acquaintance of several scholars, among them Moses Narboni and David Bongoron.

Mosconi was well versed in philosophical works, both Hebrew and Arabic; but, having a predilection for metaphysics, he occupied himself particularly with Ibn Ezra's commentary on the Pentateuch, on which he wrote a supercommentary. Most of the thirty supercommentaries on Ibn Ezra which Mosconi examined during his wanderings were, in his opinion, worthless. According to Mosconi, Ibn Ezra wrote his commentary on the Prophets and Hagiographabefore that on the Pentateuch, which he wrote eleven years before his death.

Mosconi insisted on the necessity of studying grammar; and he blamed the commentators who neglected it. In his commentary he quotes the other works of Ibn Ezra, those of Samuel ben Hophni, Saadia's Arabic translation of the Pentateuch, Maimonides' commentary on the "Aphorisms" of Hippocrates, Averroes, and the other Arabian philosophers. Simultaneously with his supercommentary, Mosconi began to write other treatises, e.g.: "'En Gedi," an explanation of certain metaphysical passages disseminated in different works; "Reaḥ Niḥoaḥ," a treatise on sacrifices; "Ṭa'ame ha-Mibṭa," on grammar—all these works being left unfinished on account of the persecutions which he underwent. Mosconi's preface to his commentary, in which he gives this information, was published by Berliner in "Oẓar Ṭob" (1878, pp. 1-10). Mosconi also revised the "Yosippon" and wrote a preface to it (published by Berliner, l.c. pp. 17-23). Steinschneider ("Hebr. Bibl." xiv. 90) thinks that the Moses Mosconi mentioned by Moses Bagi in his "Ohel Mosheh" as having written against the Karaite Aaron b. Elijah is identical with Judah Leon Mosconi, whose name was incorrectly given by Bagi.

Bibliography:
  • Berliner, in Magazin, iii. 41-51;
  • Steinschneider, ib. pp. 94-100, 140-153, 190-206;
  • idem, Hebr. Bibl. xiv. 90, xix. 57 et seq.;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 469.
H. R. M. Sel.
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