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Aharon ben Yosef of Constantinople (c. 1260 – c. 1320) was an eminent teacher, philosopher, physician, and liturgical poet in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Born in Sulchat, Crimea, he took a prominent part in the regeneration of Karaite Judaism by the help of philosophical elements borrowed from Rabbanite literature. When only nineteen years of age he had mastered the theological knowledge of his time to such a degree that he was elected the spiritual head of the Karaite community of his native town, and in that capacity he engaged the Rabbanite teachers in a public dispute to determine the correct time for the new moon. He then journeyed through many lands and diligently studied the works of Abraham ibn Ezra, Maimonides, Naḥmanides and Rashi. Being, as he said, eager to arrive at "the truth without bias and prejudice, and free from partisan spirit," he determined to accept the results of his investigation, even if they conflicted with Karaite teachings and traditions. In this spirit of fairness he wrote, in 1294, while following the profession of a physician in Constantinople, the work which established his fame and influence despite his Rabbanite proclivities. This work was the "Mibhar" (The Choice), a commentary on the Pentateuch, written in the terse, concise, and often obscure style and after the critical method of Ibn Ezra, and this became to the later generation of Karaite teachers a source of instruction in religious philosophy, in exegesis, and in practical theology, that is, the observance of the Torah. (adapted from his wikipedia article)


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