Joseph ben-Shemtob a noted Jewish philosopher, polemic, and commentator, flourished in the middle of the 15th century in Castile, and was in high office at the court of Juan II. He was especially noted in his day as a philosopher, and wrote many philosophical works which form important contributions to the history of Jewish philosophy. He was especially rigid in defense of Judaism as a religious system, in opposition to the Christian, and in that line freely used Profiat Duran's writings, upon which he commented. SEE PROFIAT. In his later days he lost his position at court through the machinations of the papists and the so called converts from Judaism, and finally died the death of martyrdom about, 1460. His works of especial interest to us are:
(1) Commentary on the celebrated Epistle of Profiat Duran against Christianity (Constantinople, 1577); contained also in Geiger's,קובוֹ ויכוחי (Breslau, 1844): —
(2) Course of Homilies delivered in the synagogue on different Sabbaths on various portions of the Bible, entitled עין הקורא, The Eye of the Reader (still in MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, Codex Michael, 581): —
(3) Commentary on Lamentations, composed at Medina del Campo in the year 1441 (MS. by De Rossi, No. 177): —
(4) Commentary on Genesis 1:l-6:8, being the Sabbatic lesson which commences the Jewish year SEE HAPHTARAH: — and
(5) Exposition of Deuteronomy 15:11. Comp. Steinschneider, in Ersch und Gruber's Allgemeine Encyklop. sec. 2, vol. 31, p. 87-93; Catalogus Libr. Hebr. in Bibliotheca Bodleiana, col. 1529; Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, 8:179 sq.; also note 4 in the Appendix; Kitto, Bibl. Cyclop. s.v.