Abbahu

Abbahu a Jewish teacher of the 4th century (279-320), is well known for his proficiency in Greek, and even instructed his daughter in that language. He is also known for his polemics and attacks against the Trinity and the ascension of Christ (Jerus. Taanith. ii, 656; Genesis Rabba, c. 29; Exodus Rabba, c. 29). Of this Abbahu we read (Abodah Sarah, fol. 4 a) that he recommended a certain rabbi Saphra to a noble Christian. At this recommendation the Christian exempted rabbi Saphra from taxation for thirteen years. When the Christian asked rabbi Saphra about the meaning of the passage in Am 3:2, and perceived his ignorance, he asked rabbi Abbahu about its meaning. Having received a satisfactory answer, the Christian asked, "Why is rabbi Saphra, whom you recommended to me as a great man, so ignorant in the Scriptures, which thou didst explain immediately?" To this rabbi Abbahu answered "We who come in contact with you Christians are obliged for our self-preservation to study the Scriptures, because you dispute so often with us from the Scriptures; but the other Jews who live among Gentiles have no use of that, since they do not dispute with them concerning the Scriptures." The Samaritans he regarded as heathen, and forbade the use of their wine (Cholin, fol. 6 b). Of his maxims we mention, "Be always of the persecuted, but not of the persecutors" (Babd Kamma, fol. 93); "Better to commit a sin secretly than to profane the name of God openly" (Pesachim; fol. 56); "In the place where the penitent stands, not even the righteous can stand" (Sanhedrin, fol. 99). When he died, it was hyperbolically said that "the columns of Caesarea shed tears" (Moed Katan, fol 25 a) See Hamburger, Real- Encyklopadie, 2, 4 sq. (B.P.)

 
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