Rabbi Shemariah of Negroponte (c. 1275-1352), also named Shemariah Ikriti (the Cretan) was born in Heraklion in 1275 and was a contemporary of the philosophers Dante and Immanuel ben Solomon of Rome. In the early 14th century, Shemariah moved from Crete to Italy where he took up a position in the court of Robert of Anjou, King of Naples, in order to devote himself to the study of the Bible and philosophy.

In addition to translating philosophic works from Hebrew and Greek into Latin for the king, Shemariah was renowned for his philosophical commentary on the Bible, specifically the Pentateuch, the Book of Job and Canticles in dedication to the king, as well as compiling a Haggadah by 1328. In 1346, he wrote his Sefer ha-Mora, a refutation of the philosophical views on the Creation, before travelling to Spain to convert a community of Karaite Jews who believed in the Tanakh as the supreme legal authority in Jewish religious law and theology. Once there, he apparently impersonated the Jewish Messiah before his eventual arrest and imprisonment, during which he died in 1352.

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Article on Shemariah Ikriti, Jewish Encyclopaedia, 1906

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