Joseph ben Abraham

Joseph Ben Abraham

Joseph ben Abraham

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Joseph ben Abraham (Hebrew: יוסף בן אברהם הכהן, also known by the Arabic name Yusuf al-Basir) was a Karaite philosopher and theologian who flourished in Babylonia or Persia in the first half of the eleventh century. He was the teacher of, among others, Jeshua ben Judah (Abu al-Faraj Furkan ibn Asad). By way of euphemism he was surnamed "ha-Ro'eh" (= "the seer"), on account of his blindness. This infirmity, however, did not prevent him from undertaking long journeys, probably as a Karaite missionary. In the course of his travels he frequented the religio-philosophical schools of the Mu'tazili, whose teachings he defended in his works. Of these the most important is the Muhtawi, translated from the Arabic into Hebrew, perhaps by Tobiah ben Moses, under the title Sefer ha-Ne'imot, or Zikron ha-Datot. It is divided into forty chapters, in which all the main principles of the Mu'tazili kalam are applied to the Karaite dogmas: the five principles of the unity of God; the necessity of admitting atoms and accidents; the existence of a Creator; the necessity of admitting certain attributes and rejecting others; God's justice and its relation to free will; reward and punishment; etc. The author often argues against the Christians, the Dualists, the Magians, the Epicureans, and various other sects, with whose tenets he shows himself well acquainted. He cites the founders of the Mu'tazili sects of al-Jabaiyah and al-Bahshamiyyah,...
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