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Isaaq ben Yaqob de Lattes of Perpignan

(376 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
14th century. Southern France or Spain. Jewish scholar and physician, perhaps in Provence. Author of medical texts, and also of the Qiryat Sefer (Borough of the Book), a casuistic and theological work written in 1372. According to his preface, Isaak divided the Qiryat Sefer into two parts naming the first Shaʿarey Tzion (Gates of Zion) and the second Toldot Yitzkhaq (after himself, also so that his family will remember him). The title of the whole work, Qiryat Sefer, is to be found in a verse between the two parts, though it is not mentioned by Isaak in his preface.The first part of the work, Shaʿ…
Date: 2016-10-17

Sherira Gaon of Pumbedita

(339 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
[Rav Sherira bar Hanina] ca 900 - ca 1000. Mesopotamia. One of the most famous Jewish scholars, gaon (head of the academy) of Pumbedita (modern Iraq), who wrote his Iggeret (Epistle) in 986/87 as a response to the inquiry of Yaqob bar Nissim, gaon of Qayrawan (North Africa).Sherira explains in detail the development of the halakhah (Jewish law) through the ages, and lays stress upon the predominance of oral transmission. He emphasizes the redaction of the oral law by Yehudah ha-Nasi, also called Rabbi (died ca 217), into the Mishnah. He describes th…
Date: 2016-10-17

Eliezer bar Nathan of Mainz

(370 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
ca 1090-1170. Germany. Jewish liturgical poet and scholar, writing in Mainz. Author of a Hebrew prose chronicle on the persecution of Jews in Germany during the First Crusade (1096).Eliezer's chronicle contains a series of accounts of the persecutions in Speyer, Worms, Mainz and Cologne (and several surrounding locations); the epilogue mentions persecutions in Trier, Metz, Regensburg and in Prague. Similarities in text and overall structure with the chronicle of Solomon bar Simson derive from an otherwise unknown chronicle…
Date: 2016-10-17

Salman of St. Goar

(302 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
15th century. Germany. Jewish chronicler. Salman of St. Goar was a student and the secretary of Yaqob ben Moses ha-Levi Molin (MaHaRIL, ca 1365-1427), whose teachings he published in his Sefer MaHaRIL. He also wrote a chronicle of the Hussite movement.Salman began writing his chronicle before 1427 and concluded it after several versions in 1454. This work was entitled Gilgul bne Hushim (Course of the events of the Sons of the Rushing), in allusion to Numbers 32, 17, and referring to the Hussites. The chronicle describes the rise of the Hussite movement fr…
Date: 2016-10-17

David ben Samuel of Estelle

(330 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
[David Kochabi] d. ca 1340. France. Jewish scholar from Estelle (Étoile-sur-Rhône, Dauphiné); author of an overview of rabbinical scholarship as an introduction to his Qiryat Sefer (Borough of the Book), written in Provence. The Qiryat Sefer consists of three parts on God, the preservation of body and soul, and rules for social relationships. In its introduction, David includes a short history of rabbinical scholarship ( Seder ha-Qabbalah, order of tradition).Beginning with the Geonim, major scholars of the academies in Sura and Pumbedita from the 7th to the end of the 11th century, …
Date: 2016-10-17

Crescas, Hasdai ben Yudah

(193 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
[Hasdai ben Yudah Qresqas] ca 1340-1410/11. Catalonia (Iberia). Jewish philosopher, renowned halakhist, and judge of all the Jews of the kingdom of Aragon. On 27th October 1391 he wrote a letter from Saragossa, where he served as rabbi, about the persecution of the Jews in Spain that year. In this Hebrew letter, addressed to the community of Avignon, he gives a brief account in chronological order about the spread of the persecution. For each community and with the exact dates, he reports about the killings, the martyr…
Date: 2016-10-17

Solomon bar Simson

(444 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
fl. 1140. Germany. Jewish scholar (otherwise unknown), writing in Mainz. Author of a Hebrew prose chronicle on the persecution of Jews in Germany during the First Crusade (1096). Solomon's chronicle contains a series of accounts of the persecutions in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, Trier, Metz, Regensburg and Prague. In a lost introduction, Solomon had added a report on Speyer - and probably one on Worms - from the chronicle of the Mainz Anonymous, one of his two major sources, as well as a list of martyrs from Worms. In the sole surviving MS (olim London, Bet Din & Bet ha-Midrash, ms. 28, 151r-…
Date: 2016-10-17

Abraham ben Solomon of Torrutiel

(442 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
b. 1482. North Africa. Jewish Qabbalah scholar. Born in Spain, he settled with his family in Fez (Morocco) after the expulsion of Jews from the peninsula in 1492.He wrote his chronicle Sefer ha-Qabbalah in 1510 as a continuation to the Sefer ha-Qabbalah of Abraham ibn Daud. In the introduction he states his intention "to complete it from the year that the Rabbi [Abraham] died... until the present year, which is the year 5270 [1510 ad], so that the generations which come after us will know that the tradition has continued from teacher to student from the year of the gi…
Date: 2016-10-17

Menahem ben Aaron ben Zerah

(258 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
1308-85. Navarre (Iberia). Halakhist, important Jewish scholar and poet. His father was among the Jews who were expelled from France in 1306 and died as martyr in 1328 in Estella. In Toledo in ca 1374, Menahem wrote the introduction to his ethical halakhic work Tzedah la-Derekh (provision for the journey) which is addressed to the social upper class.His account includes valuable information about the Shalshelet ha-Qabbalah, the chain of rabbinical tradition, from the 8th century to his time. However, Isaaq Alfasi (1013-1103) is the first scholar he describes in detai…
Date: 2016-10-17

Eleazar bar Yudah ben Kalonymos

(354 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
[Roqeah] qca 1165- ca 1230. Germany. Jewish liturgical poet and scholar in the fields of halakhah, theology, ethics, and exegesis in Mainz, and from ca 1190 in Worms. Author of the celebrated Sefer ha-Roqeah (book of the ointment mixer), and also of a Hebrew prose chronicle about the persecution of Jews during the Third Crusade in 1187-88 in Mainz.In the chronicle, Eleazar first describes an allegation of attempted murder of a Christian and a general ritual murder accusation which were levelled against the Jews in Mainz on 7th August 1187. Although not explicitly stated, these ac…
Date: 2016-10-17

Mainz Anonymous

(353 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
fl. early 12th century. Germany. Jewish author, writing probably in Mainz, close to 1097, but before 1140. Author of a Hebrew prose chronicle on the persecution of Jews in Germany during the First Crusade (1096).The chronicle of the Mainz Anonymous contains a series of accounts of the persecutions in the shum-communities Speyer, Worms, and Mainz. Writing shortly after the events, the author also relied on letters that were sent between the communities. His accounts describe in great vividness the martyrdom of large numbers of Jews ( Qiddush ha-Shem) as well as their forced baptism…
Date: 2016-10-17

Yoseph ben Tzaddiq of Arevalo

(371 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
ca 1417-87. Castile (Iberia). A Jewish scholar who lived in Arévalo (Ávila). Author of a book on halakha and minhagim entitled Zekher Tzaddiq (also named Qitzur Zekher Tzaddiq, Compendium of the Memory of the Righteous), written between 1467 and 1487 in fifty chapters ( sheʿarim).The last chapter of this book is a chronicle of the history of the Jews from Creation to the year 1487 (see also Jewish chronicle tradition). Its main focus is the Shalshelet ha-Qabbalah, or the chain of scholarly tradition from generation to generation, and from teacher to student. Yoseph prov…
Date: 2016-10-17

Jewish chronicle tradition

(2,059 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
Jewish historical writingThe Jewish tradition of historical writing is of great antiquity. The medieval Jewish chronicle could look back to antecedents of great stature. Among the pre-medieval Jewish writings which are referred to elsewhere in this encyclopedia are the historical books of the Hebrew Bible (current text from ca sixth century bc); Artapanus,AristobulusandEupolemus(all third or second century bc); and Flavius Josephusand Justus of Tiberias(both first century ad). These and other classical Jewish writers were among the precursors of the Jewish, Ch…
Date: 2016-12-06

Menahem ben Solomon ha-Meiri of Perpignan

(408 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
ca 1249 - ca 1316 (1240-1306). France. Jewish scholar and commentator living in Perpignan. Between 1287 and 1300 he wrote his commentary on the talmudic tract Massekhet Avot as part of his work Beit ha-Behirah on the Talmud. The introduction to this commentary contains a chronicle of the history of Jews from the biblical period to Menahem's own times. It is a history of the Seder ha-Qabbalah (order of tradition) "from the day God created Adam till today". The only (legitimate) purpose of his chronicle is according to Menahem to relate to the next generation wh…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ephraim bar Yaqob of Bonn

(562 words)

Author(s): Haverkamp, Eva
1132 - post-1196. Germany. Jewish liturgical poet and scholar, who wrote the chronicle Sefer Zekhirah (Book of Remembrance) probably during the 1170s, and continued it until 1196. With an allusion to the horrific experiences of Jews during the persecutions of the First Crusade (1096), Ephraim describes the persecutions in 1146/47 by crusaders of the Second Crusade. His chronicle is the only extant Hebrew report of the events. He also inserted verse lamentations ( qinot) into his chronicle.Ephraim attributes the threat against the Jews to the preaching of the Cistercian …
Date: 2016-10-17