Solomon ben Abraham

(c. 13th century)


Solomon Ben Abraham of Montpellier, France was a 13th century Talmudic scholar. He was praised for his scholarship by Nachmanides, Judah Alfakhar, and Todros ben Joseph HaLevi Abulafia. Ben Abraham had great respect for Maimonides and his halachic knowledge. However, when he read Ibn Tibbon's Hebrew translation of the Guide For the Perplexed, he was very upset. He found RaMBaM's attempt to reconcile Judaism with Greek thought heretical. Judaism was based on revelation, not rational thought. In 1232, he organized a group of rabbis in northern France to ban the reading of RaMBaM's philosophical works and other secular studies.

When word of their ban reached Provence, the rabbis there responded by banning Solomon ben Abraham and his followers. They went so far as to accuse him of using the Christian authorities to get The Guide For the Perplexed burned and forbidden. Recent scholarship indicates that this was probably not the case, but Solomon ben Abraham's action sparked the second level of the famous Maimonidean Controversies.


Sources: Gates of Jewish Heritage