Grammarian and philisopher; son of the martyr Don Joseph; born at Lisbon 1465; died 1543. He was a pupil of David ben Solomon ibn Yaḥya, a relative, who wrote expressly for him two school-books, entitled respectively "Leshon Limmudim" and "Sheḳel ha-Ḳodesh." In 1496 he and his family were forced to emigrate to Italy. In 1518 he became rabbi of Naples, and remained in that position until the expulsion of the Jews from the kingdom of Naples in 1540. To his care for the interests of his own congregation, Ibn Yaḥya added an active concern for the welfare of his coreligionists elsewhere. In 1533 a number of Jewish prisoners were brought from Tunis to Naples; Ibn Yaḥya was instrumental in effecting their release; his own congregation having already exhausted its means, he sent a general appeal to his brethren in Genoa, Lombardy, Montferrat, and (in 1535) Bologna. In 1534 he engaged in an effort to avert the impending decree of expulsion. When the expulsion of the Jews occurred, six years later, Ibn Yaḥya resumed his wanderings, which ended at Imola, where he died.

David ibn Yaḥya corresponded with Meïr of Padua, the chief rabbinical authority of his time in Italy, and was highly eulogized by him. He wrote various works on grammar and philosophy, which his grandson, the chronicler Gedaliah ibn Yaḥya, possessed in manuscript. David Kaufmann had in his possession a copy of the "Maḳaṣid" of Ghazali, copied by David ibn Yaḥya. The Hebraist Widmannstadt, a pupil of Reuchlin, was also a pupil of Ibn Yaḥya.

  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 864;
  • idem, Jüdische Litteratur, in Ersch and Gruber, Encyc. section ii., part 27, p.450;
  • Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 131;
  • R. E. J. xvi. 37, 46.
G. I. E.
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