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CRESCAS, (DON) VIDAL, OF PERPIGNAN:

French Talmudist; flourished in the first half of the fourteenth century. He was probably a native of Spain, going to Perpignan shortly before the outbreak of the Maimonides controversy. His position in this religio-philosophical discussion was, like that of many other rabbis, neutral, notwithstanding the efforts of his brother Don Bonafos Vidal of Barcelona, and of Solomon ben Adret, to induce him to take part against the philosophical faction. It is evident, on the contrary, from the letter he addressed to them, that his attitude toward the movement was sympathetic, although he himself was strictly orthodox. He held that while the young should be taught to study the Talmud, they should also have full liberty in the study of philosophy and science. Hence he emphatically sided with his friend Samuel Sulami, who had given shelter to the ostracized philosopher Levi ben Abraham of Villefranche, though thereby incurring the reproach of the orthodox. Although Crescas did not openly espouse the cause of the unfortunate philosopher, yet his letters show how deeply he sympathized with him (Gross, "Gallia Judaica," p. 464).

L. G. A. Pe.
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