Joshua ben Levi


Joshua ben Levi

Joshua ben Levi or Yehoshua ben Levi was an amora (Rabbi of the Jewish Talmud) who lived in the Land of Israel, of the first half of the third century. He headed the school of Lydda in southern Palestine. He was an elder contemporary of Johanan bar Nappaha and Resh Lakish, who presided over the school in Tiberias. (Genesis Rabbah 94.) With Johanan bar Nappaha, Joshua often engaged in homiletic exegetical discussions (Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 116a; Megillah 27a; Shevuot 18b). It is doubtful that the name "ben Levi" meant the son of Levi, whom some identify with Levi ben Sisi, or a descendant of the tribe of Levi. (Grätz, "Gesch." 4:263; Frankel, "Mebo," 91b; Weiss, "Dor," 3:60; Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 1:124.)

Rabbi Joshua ben Levi studied under Bar Kappara, whom he often quoted. But Joshua considered his greatest indebtedness to Rabbi Judah ben Pedaiah, from whom he learned a great number of legal rulings. (Exodus Rabbah 6; Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:7; Genesis Rabbah 94.) Another of his teachers was Rabbi Phinehas ben Jair, whose piety and sincerity must have exerted a powerful influence upon the character of Joshua. Joshua himself had a gentle disposition. He was known for his modesty and piety, and whenever he instituted public fasting and prayer, it was said that his appeals were answered. (Jerusalem Talmud Taanit 66c.)

His love of peace prevented him from making any attacks against the Christian theology that was then gaining ground. He was tolerant of Jewish Christians, though they often annoyed him. And he forbore cursing one of them, pronouncing rather he identified "glory" ("kavod") with homiletic exegesis. (Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 9b.) There is also a reference to a book ("pinkes") by Joshua ben Levi which is presumed by some to have presented haggadic themes (Weiss, "Dor," p. 60); but this can not be well reconciled with Joshua’s disparaging of the writing down of homiletic exegesis. (Jerusalem Talmud Shabbat 15c; Midrash Tehillim 22:4; Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 1:129, against Weiss, "Dor," 3:60, who assumes that the "pinkes" was the work of another rabbi of the same name.)

Nonetheless, homiletic exegesis occupied an important place in the teaching of Rabbi Joshua. His disciples and contemporaries quoted many such propositions in his name.

As an exegete, Rabbi Joshua ben Levi was of some importance, his interpretations often enabling him to deduce legal rulings. Some of his explanations have been accepted by later commentators. (See, e.g., Abraham ibn Ezra and others on ). (Babylonian Talmud Yoma 69b; Jerusalem Talmud Berakhot 11c; Jerusalem Talmud Megillah 74c.) He conceived the relation between Israel and God as most intimate, and he expresses it in the words, "Not even a wall of iron could separate Israel from his Father in heaven." (Babylonian Talmud Pesachim 85b; Sotah 38b.) In his doctrine of future reward and punishment, paradise will receive those who have performed the will of God, while the nether world becomes the habitation of the wicked. (Babylonian Talmud Eruvin 19a). In


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • JOSHUA BEN LEVI — (first half of the third century C.E.), Palestinian amora of the transition period from the tannaim to the amoraim. In his youth he was apparently in the company of Judah ha Nasi, since Joshua mentions the customs which he followed (Shab. 46a;… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Joshua ben Levi — (fl. 3rd cent.)    Palestinian amora. He was born in Lydda and later taught there, also concerning himself closely with communal needs. He was involved in affairs affecting the community in its relations with the Roman authorities, and travelled… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • JOSHUA BEN ELIJAH HA-LEVI — JOSHUA BEN ELIJAH HA LEVI, collector and final editor of Judah Halevi s divan (Oxford, Bodl. Ms. No. 1971). Joshua lived, at the latest, in the 15th century, and was probably of Yemenite origin. From his Arabic preface to the Oxford divan (Ms. No …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Jehoschua ben Levi — (auch: Josua ben Levi), vielleicht Sohn des Levi b. Sissi, war ein bedeutender Amoräer der 1. Generation in Lydda und besonders durch seine Beschäftigung mit der Haggada einer der hervorragendsten Amoräer Palästinas in der 1. Hälfte des 3.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • HOROWITZ, ẒEVI JOSHUA BEN SAMUEL SHMELKE — (1735?–1816), East European rabbi. Horowitz appears to have been born in Nikolsburg. He married the daughter of phinehas ha levi horowitz , author of the Hafla ah. From 1781 to 1786 he was rabbi of Jamnitz, Moravia, from 1786–1800 in Trebitsch… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Joshua (name) — Joshua is a Biblical masculine given name derived from the Hebrew Yehoshua (hebrew|יהושע), which has a meaning similar to God rescues or God is salvation . [ [http://www.direct.ca/trinity/yehoshua.html Yehoshua, Yeshua or Yeshu; Which one is the… …   Wikipedia

  • Joshua Lorki — Joshua ben Joseph ibn Vives al Lorqui (of Lorca) (fl. 1400) was a Spanish Jewish physician who lived at Alcañiz. In 1408, at the command of the rich and influential Benveniste ben Solomon ben Labi, he wrote a work in Arabic on the value and… …   Wikipedia

  • Joshua Heschel Zoref — (b.1633) was a 17th century ascetic, and an important personality in the Lithuanian Sabbatean movement. During the messianic fervor of 1666, he claimed to experience visions similar to those of Ezekiel. He, like Judah Leib Prossnitz also,… …   Wikipedia

  • LEVI BEN GERSHOM — (1288–1344; acronym: RaLBaG; also called Maestre Leo de Bagnols; Magister Leo Hebraeus; Gersonides), mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and biblical commentator, born probably at Bagnols sur Cèze (Languedoc – now département du Gard, France) …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Levi ben Japheth — (Heb. Levi ben Yafet ha Levi ; Arab. Abu Sa id Levi ibn Yafat was a Karaite Jewish scholar who flourished, probably at Jerusalem, in the first half of the eleventh century CE. Although, like his father Japheth ben Ali, he was considered one of… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.