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Abba Mari ben Moses ben Joseph Astruc

(c. 14th Century)

Abba Mari ben Moses ben Joseph Astruc was a 14th century Jewish scholar in Montpellier. He was appalled at the willingness of many Jewish scholars to explain the Torah rationally. They even maintained that certain Torah images were allegories and metaphors. In a scathing work, Sefer HaYareach, Astruc emphasized traditional rabbinic beliefs.

He initiated the third attack against Maimonides' Guide For the Perplexed, initiating a major Maimonidean Controversy. He succeeded in convincing Solomon ben Abraham Adret to issue a ban against anyone who studied the text before the age of twenty-five. This ban was taken further in Provence, prohibiting the study of science, metaphysics, rational explanations for the Torah, and philosophical interpretations of midrash and aggadah.

In 1306, the Jews (including Astruc) were expelled from France. He ended up in Perpignan where he settled.

Sources: Gates to Jewish Heritage