Do not be confused by the two, their names are the same but the difference between them is as night and day.
The First: Al Imaam, al-Mufassir, al Faqeeh, al Mu-arrikh – Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jareer ibn Yazeed ibn Katheer ibn Ghaalib at Tabaree.1
An Imaam, Mujtahid Mutlaq,2 author of the many well-known books. He is from Tabrastaan. He was born in 224H, he travelled to seek knowledge at the age of twelve to a number of coountries before finally settling in Baghdad. He died in the year 310H.
The Second: He is; Abu Ja’far, Muhammad ibn Jareer ibn Rustum al Tabaree.
Al Imaam Adh Dhahabee
stated concerning him:
‘Abdul ‘Azeez al Kitaanee stated: "He is from the Rawaafid (Shee’ah). He authored numerous books of their innovations…"
Note: Both of them are known and referred to as: Abu Ja’far, Muhammad ibn Jareer at Tabaree, it is the grandfathers name, which is usually omitted, that differentiates them. Adh Dhahabee lists their biographies one after the other.
1. A full biography of the Imaam will be posted in the future insha Allah.
2. The meaning of Mujtahid Mutlaq can be found in this article, it is the highest level: The Levels of the Scholars
3. Seeyar ‘alaam an Nubalaa: 9: #2857