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JOSEPH BAR ḤIYYA:

Gaon of Pumbedita from 828 to 833. In the controversy between Daniel and the exilarch David ben Judah, the gaon Abraham ben Sherira seems to have been deposed by one party and Joseph bar Ḥiyya, the "ab bet din," appointed gaon of Pumbedita. Abraham, however, by means of influential friends, regained his position, and Joseph was compelled to recognize Abraham's authority. Both nevertheless continued as geonim of the same school until, on the occasion of an annual meeting at Bagdad in the synagogue of Bar Nasla, Joseph, moved by the weeping of the congregation because of the dissensions between the heads of the school, rose and declared: "I herewith voluntarily renounce the office of gaon and resume that of ab bet din." Thereupon Abraham rose and blessed him, saying: "May God give you a share in the world to come." After Abraham's death (828) Joseph bar Ḥiyya became his legal successor and retained the office until his death in 833 (Letter of Sherira, in Neubauer, "M. J. C." i. 38). See Gaon.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. v. 197;
  • Halevy, Dorot ha-Rishonim, iii. ch. 21;
  • Weiss, Dor, iv. 28.
S. S. M. Sc.
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