Akiba ben Joseph (ca. 50–135 C.E.)
A Jewish rabbi of the first century, who began as a simple
shepherd, then became a learned scholar, spurred by the hope
of winning the hand of a young lady he greatly admired. According
to Jewish legend, he was taught by the elemental spirits,
was a wonder worker, and at his peak had as many as 24,000
disciples. He was reputed to be the author of a famous work entitled
Yetzirah (On the Creation), which is by some ascribed to
Abraham, or to Adam. An early Hebrew edition of the Sepher
Yetzirah was printed at Lemberg in 1680 a Latin version was
printed in Paris in 1552.
Rabbi Akiba was a great teacher who developed a rabbinical
school at Jaffu, and his Mishnah became the foundation of the
religious code. He was involved in the revolt of Bar-Cochba
against Hadrian in 132 C.E. and suffered martyrdom by being
flayed alive.