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BASHYAZI, MOSES BEN ELIJAH:

Karaite scholar; great-grandson of Elijah Bashyazi; born at Constantinople in 1537; died in 1555. When but sixteen years of age, he displayed a remarkable degree of learning and a profound knowledge of foreign languages. He undertook for mere love of knowledge a voyage to Palestine and Syria in order to explore these countries and to collect old manuscripts. Though he died at such an early age, he had composed many works, four of which are extant in manuscript (Leyden, St. Petersburg, Paris): (1) "Sefer Yehudah" or "Sefer 'Arayot," on prohibited marriages. In this work he enumerates former authors who had written on the same subject, such as Al-Baṣir, Jeshua (Furḳan) ben Judah Abu al-Faraj Harun, Aaron ben Elijah. (2) "Zebaḥ Pesaḥ" (The Passover Sacrifice), on the celebration of the festival days, in which he quotes many passages from the Arabic originals of Jeshuah ben Judah's commentary upon the Pentateuch, from the commentary of Joseph Ḳirḳisan, from Jeshua's other works, and from the "Sefer ha-Miẓwot" of Ḳumisi. (3) "Maṭṭeh Elohim" (The Rod of God), which contains a history of the Karaite schism; the chain ofKaraite tradition, which the author claims to have received from Japheth ibn Saghir; interpretation of the Law, and particularly of the precepts which are arranged in numbers according to the Decalogue. (4) "Sefer Reuben" (The Book of Reuben), on dogmas and articles of belief.

Bibliography:
  • Jost, Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Secten, ii. 370;
  • Fürst, Gesch. d. Karäert. iii. 316-322;
  • Neubauer, Aus der Petersburger Bibliothek, pp. 63, 64;
  • Gottlober, Biḳḳoret le-Toledot ha-Karaim, p. 202.
G. I. Br.
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