MOSES BEN JOSHUA OF NARBONNE (MAESTRO VIDAL BLASOM):
French philosopher and physician; born at Perpignan at the end of the thirteenth century; died after 1362. His education in philosophy began at the age of thirteen, under his father, and continued under Moses and Abraham Caslari. He studied medicine also, which he practised later with much success; and he became well versed in Biblical and rabbinical literature. The desire for learning took him to Spain, where he is successively met with at Toledo, Soria, and Valencia. Moses ben Joshua underwent many sufferings during the persecutions consequent upon the Black Death. When he was at Cervera an infuriated mob rushed upon the Jewish community, and he had to take refuge in flight, leaving behind him all he possessed, including his books.
Moses was an enthusiastic admirer of Averroes, to whose works he devoted his main scientific activity. He was the author of: "Perush mi-Millot ha-Higgayon," on the terminology of Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" (Munich MS. No. 289); "Ma'amar Alexander be-Sekel," supercommentary on Averroes' commentary on Alexander of Aphrodisias' work on the intellect ("Cat. Leipsic," p. 308); commentary on Averroes' "middle" commentary on Aristotle's "Physics" (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS. No. 967); commentary on Averroes' paraphrase of the "Organon" (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." Nos. 1350, 1360); commentary on the fourth part of Avicenna's "Canon" (ib. Nos. 2107, 2121); commentary on Ghazali's "Maḳaṣid al-Falasifah," which had been translated from theArabic into Hebrew, under the title "Kawwanat ha-Pilusufim," by Isaac Albalag, Judah Natan, and an anonymous writer (Rome, Casanatensis, No. 1, vi. 6); "Iggeret 'Al-Shi'ur Ḳomah," a mystical letter on the "Shi'ur Ḳomah," attributed to the high priest Ishmael, who lived in the last years of the Second Temple (Neubauer, l.c. No. 2250, 6); commentary on Lamentations (ib. 359, 4); commentary on Averroes' treatise on the hylic intellect and the possibility of conjunction (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MSS. Nos. 918, 9; 947, 5; 957, 1); "Shelemut ha-Nefesh," collection of Aristotle's and Averroes' writings on the soul (ib. 988, 1); commentary on Averroes' dissertation on physics and on the treatise "De Substantia Orbis" (ib. 988, 2); "Ketab Ḥai ben Yaḳẓan," commentary on the philosophical novel of Ibn Ṭufail ("Cat. Leipsic," p. 326); "Oraḥ Ḥayyim," a treatise on medicine (Bibliothèque Nationale, No. 1200); "Ma'amar bi-Beḥirah," treatise on free will, written in refutation of Abner of Burgos' fatalistic "Iggeret ha-Gezerah," and published in the collection "Dibre Ḥakamim" (Metz, 1849); commentary on the "Guide of the Perplexed," published by Jacob Goldenthal (Vienna, 1852); commentary on Averroes' commentary on the "De Cœlo et Mundo"; treatise on metaphysics; "Pirḳe Mosheh," philosophical aphorisms; "Iggeret Meyuḥedet," on Ibn Ezra's commentary on Gen. xi. 2. The last four works are no longer in existence and are known only through quotations.
- Munk, Mélanges, pp. 502 et seq.;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1967;
- idem, Hebr. Uebers. pp. 56, 57, 156, 311, 312;
- Grätz, Gesch. vii. 352 et seq.;
- Renan-Neubauer, Les Ecrivains Juifs Français, pp. 320-335;
- Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 467.