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Medieval Exegesis and Religious DifferenceCommentary, Conflict, and Community in the Premodern Mediterranean$
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Ryan Szpiech

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264629

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264629.001.0001

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Reconstructing Thirteenth-Century Jewish–Christian Polemic

Reconstructing Thirteenth-Century Jewish–Christian Polemic

From Paris 1240 to Barcelona 1263 and Back Again

(p.115) 7 Reconstructing Thirteenth-Century Jewish–Christian Polemic
Medieval Exegesis and Religious Difference

Harvey J. Hames

Fordham University Press

This chapter considers the historiography of Dominican engagement with the Talmud and other postbiblical Hebrew sources while also going on to consider Jewish-Christian polemical arguments more generally. The author sees Nahmanides’s Hebrew account of the 1263 debate as a starting point for discussing similar documents from other thirteenth-century Jewish-Christian disputations and conflicts, above all the “Talmud Trial” of the 1240s that took place in Paris after charges of blasphemy were brought against the Talmud by the converted Jew and Dominican Nicholas Donin. He compares the Hebrew account of the events in the 1240s (written, in the opinion of most scholars, soon afterwards by Joseph ben Nathan Official, author of the Hebrew Sefer Yosef ha-meqanneʾ, or Book of Joseph the Zealot), with Nahmanides’s account of the Barcelona Disputation and with an anonymous Hebrew account of Pablo’s later harangue to the Jews of Paris in the early 1270s. By noting the parallels between the various Hebrew accounts, he suggests that the account of Joseph ben Nathan Official was actually written much later and modeled on the texts from Paris and Barcelona.

Keywords:   Disputation of Barcelona, Nicholas Donin, Joseph ben Nathan Official, Sefer Yosef ha-meqanneʾ, Nahmanides, Christian attacks on Talmud, Pau Crestià (Pablo Cristiani)

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