BENJAMIN ASYA (or MINYOMI) ("Physician"):

A Babylonian rabbinic scholar of the third and fourth amoraic generations (fourth century), contemporary of Rab Joseph and Raba, and founder of a school named after him, Debe Minyomi Asya. It is reported that the disciples of his school spoke disrespectfully of the Rabbis, saying, "Of what benefit are the rabbis to us? They have never proved it to be lawful for us to eat the raven, or to be unlawful to eat the pigeon!" (meaning to say that, in spite of their disputations and hair-splitting arguments, the Rabbis have no authority to alter or abrogate a Biblical precept [Sanh. 99b et seq.]). Raba obtained from Benjamin some medical information; and when on one occasion he publicly lectured on the subject before the people of Maḥuza, Benjamin's sons or disciples, who seem to have formed a medical gild, resented this publication of their professional secrets (Shab. 133b; 'Ab. Zarah 28b). Benjamin Asya is probably identical with Minyomi b. Niḥumi, the contemporary of Amemar I. (Ket. 69a), to whom Abaye appealed from a decision of Rab Joseph (ib. 81b). Brüll identifies Benjamin Asya with Bar Nathan Asya, who once manifested his disregard for rabbinic enactments by traveling on the second day of the Feast of Weeks from Beram (some read "Be Rab" = school) to Pumbedita, on which account Rab Joseph excommunicated him (Pes. 52a; see Diḳduḳe Soferim, ad loc.). Brüll discovers in this school the origin of Karaism ("Jahrb." i. 225).

J. Sr. S. M.
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