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Josiah ben Jesse

JOSIAH BEN JESSE (d. after 1235), nasi of the Jews in *Damascus during the first half of the 13th century. Judah *Al-Ḥarizi met him when he visited Damascus, about 1216, and wrote poems of praise in his honor. In these Al-Ḥarizi mentions Josiah's lineage, which could be traced to *Zerubbabel. He refers to him by the title of Nesi Galuyyot Kol Yisrael ("prince of the Diasporas of all Jewry"). It appears that there was a special significance to this title and that it was more than mere rhetoric, because in the ban which he issued in 1235 the title appears again. In this ban his brother, Solomon b. Jesse (d. after 1244) who lived in Fostat, is also mentioned. He is also referred to by the title of Nesi Galuyyot Yisrael ("prince of the Diasporas"). Hodayah b. Jesse ha-Nasi, referred to as NesiNesi'ei Galuyyot Kol Yisrael ("chief of the princes of Diasporas of all Jewry"), was also Josiah's brother. It is known that Hodayah was in Alexandria for a few years, since he came into conflict with the dayyan R. Joseph b. Gershon, who lived at the same time as Abraham b. Moses b. *Maimuni. One of his descendants was the nasi *Jesse b. Hezekiah.


Judah Al-Ḥarizi, Taḥkemoni, ed. by, A. Kaminka (1899), 21–24, 355; S. Poznański, Babylonische Geonim im nachgaonaeischen Zeitalter (1914), 123; Simonsen, in: Festschrift… Jacob Guttmann (1915), 218ff.; Mann, Egypt, 1 (1920), 175f.; 2 (1922), 210, 357–9; idem, in: Sefer… S.A. Poznański (1927), 28f. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Gil, Be-Malkhut Ishmael, 439–43.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.