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Nachmanides (born 1194 in Girona ; died 1270 in Akko , actually Moses ben Nachman , also known by the acronym RaMBaN (Hebrew רמב"ן), derived from Ra bbi M oshe b en N ahman) was an outstanding Jewish scholar of the Middle Ages, doctor, philosopher and poet from Catalonia .


Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, in Catalan Bonastruc ça Porta , comes from a family of scholars from Gerona, hence his nickname Rabbenu Moses Gerondi . He was a descendant of Isaac ben Reuben of Barcelona and a cousin of Jona Gerondi . It is not certain whether the rich merchant Benveniste da Porta from Barcelona was his brother. Nachmanides studied Jewish teaching, medicine and philosophy in Barcelona and is considered one of the most important Jewish religious scholars of his time.

From his teacher Judah ben Jakar, a student of Isaac ben Abraham von Dampierre , he got to know the tradition of the Tosafists in northern France, from Meir ben Isaak von Trinquetaille , the methods of the Provencal yeshivot . He developed into one of the most influential spiritual and political figures in Jewish life in Catalonia. From 1264 until he emigrated to Eretz Israel , he succeeded Jona ben Abraham Gerondi as Chief Rabbi of Catalonia.

When the Maimonides dispute broke out again in Montpellier between 1230 and 1232 , Nachmanides tried to mediate. On the one hand he urged the Spanish community leaders not to do anything against the Maimonides opponents of Provence, on the other hand he tried to keep the French rabbis from banning the Maimonides writings. However, he was unsuccessful in his efforts.

Because of his erudition and his reputation, he was called in by King James I of Aragón as an advisor in Jewish matters. In 1263 the king forced him to take part in the disputation of Barcelona and to represent the Jewish side against the convert and Christian apologist Pablo Christiani . After the disputation , which took place in July 1263 in the presence of the king and leading representatives of the Dominicans and the Franciscans , Nachmanides was declared the victor. He was commissioned by the Bishop of Gerona to document his statements in the dispute (published in Sefer Ṿikuaḥ ha-Ramban ). The Dominicans, who did not agree with the outcome of the conversation, tried in 1265 to bring Nachmanides to court for insulting the Christian faith. It was only after a letter from Pope Clement IV to the king that Nachmanides moved to leave Catalonia and emigrate to the Holy Land .

He arrived in Acre in the summer of 1267 and went to Jerusalem that same year . In a letter to his son, he described the sorry state of the city, previously of the seven years Tartars had been destroyed -Horden. He began to gather the few remaining Jews in a community and set up a synagogue and probably also a yeshiva in the city. Reports of its activities spread rapidly, and many Jewish settlers again flocked to Jerusalem. In 1269 he returned to Acre and was head of the local community until his death in 1270. It is not certain where his grave lies. Some believe that he was buried at the foot of Mount Carmel , others suspect that he was buried in Haifa at the side of Jechiel ben Joseph of Paris .

The names of four of his descendants (three sons and one daughter) have been handed down. They had apparently stayed in Spain.


Nachmanides developed a mediating activity in the Maimonides dispute which flared up over Maimonides ' writings. His explanations of the Torah and the Book of Job show him as a sober rabbi who was influenced by the Kabbalah .


See also

Web links

Commons : Nachmanides  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Krupp : The Talmud / An introduction to the basic script of Judaism with selected texts , Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1995, p. 174
  2. Cf. Haviva Pedaya:  NAḤMANIDES. In: Encyclopaedia Judaica . 2nd Edition. Volume 14, Detroit / New York a. a. 2007, ISBN 978-0-02-865942-8 , pp. 739-748 (English).