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ASHER BEN DAVID:

A son of Abraham ben David of Posquières; flourished about the middle of the thirteenth century. He was a pupil of his uncle, Isaac the Blind, and one of the earliest cabalistic writers. He was the author of or (Explanations on the Thirteen Attributes of God; Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7), and (Explanation of the Tetragrammaton and the Sefirot). The relation of these two works to each other, however, can not be definitely stated, since only a small part has been printed, in "Oẓar NeḦmad," iv. 37, and "Hebräische Bibliographie," xii. 80, 113. Probably he tried to justify the number (ten) of the Sefirot as seemingly not in harmony with the thirteen attributes of God assumed in the Talmud. He identifies, on the one hand, the ten Sefirot with the ten spheres of the philosophers, and, on the other, explains the thirteen attributes of God as derivations of the three middle Sefirot: (love, justice, mercy), which he designates as (fundamental principles).

Asher was taught by his father, whom he calls a learned man; and he had verbal intercourse with Jacob ben Samuel of Anduze, with Meïr ben Simon, and with Abraham ben Isaac of Carcassonne.

Bibliography:
  • Heb. Bibl. xii. 80 et seq.;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 450;
  • Bloch, Entwickelung der Kabbala, etc., p. 42.
  • [Michael (Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 536) doubts whether he was the son of Abraham b. David of Posquières.]
K. P. B.
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