Aaron Ben Moses Ben Asher - Was Ben Asher A Karaite?

Was Ben Asher A Karaite?

Most of the secular scholars conclude that Aaron ben Asher was indeed a Karaite though there is evidence against this view (see suggestions for further reading). One of the strongest arguments against it is that it would be astonishing if Maimonides, famously opposed to the Karaites, had followed the authority of a Karaite, even in the matter of open and closed sections.

In his critiques of Karaites, Saadia Gaon mentioned a "Ben-Asher." Until recently, it never occurred to scholars to associate this "Ben-Asher" with the famous Aaron ben Asher of Tiberias. Recent research indicates, however, that it is probable. This may explain why he preferred the "Ben Naphtali" system.

In his work Sefer Dikdukei ha Te'amim, Aaron ben Asher wrote, "The prophets... complete the Torah, are as the Torah, and we decide Law from them as we do from the Torah." This belief is known to have been held by Karaites. Documents found in the Cairo Geniza also indicate that ben Asher was a Karaite.

If Aaron ben Asher was indeed a Karaite, it may be argued that he was the most influential Karaite in world history.

See also: Tanakh and Karaite Judaism

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