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R. Moses Nachmanides,
a synagogue (M), and became one of the most celebrated
cabbalists that age produced. What made him leave his native country, where he was so esteemed and beloved, for Judea, then so torn with wars, is not easy to guess; unless he perhaps had made himself obnoxious to the Spanish clergy, by the conferences he had had with some friars, particularly that which was held before the king of Arragan and his court, an. 1263. The time of his death is likewise variously placed; by
retires into fome) an. 1300; at which rate he must have lived 106 years;
J udea. ancj by others 40 years sooner; tho' that is eight years before the author of Juchafin makes him to have finished his Exposition of the cabbalistical law. His other most considerable works may be seen in the next note (N). However, the Jews made
(M) He was born at Gironna, an. 1194, and at first studied chiefly physic, but made afterwards such progress in the study of the law, that he was styled the father of wisdom, the luminary and glory of the crown of holiness; and a sermon which he preached before the king of Castile, made him be looked upon as the father of eloquence. He at first seemed to have no opinion of the Cabbalah; but after he came to take a relish to it, he became so expert in it, that he could find every thing he wanted in the sacred books, particularly in the Song of Moses, and passed from the speculative to the Hammahafith, or active, or operative part of
(N)-i. A prayer on the ruin of the temple. 2. An epistle on the holiness of marriage, giving some rules how parents may beget honest children. 3. His garden of desire, another epistle, in the cabbalistical strain. 4. A third to his son, on moral subjects. 5. A fourth in defence of Maimenidcs. 6. The treasure
of life, a cabbalistical treatise. 7. On faith and trust, likewise cabbalistical. 8. His exposition of the law, in the fame strain, and more subtil than the rest. 9. On redemption or deliverance from banishment. 10. His sermon before the king of Castile on the excellence of the divine law. u. A treatise on purity. 12. New exposition on the treatise ofBava Batrs.. 13. On that ofjatzirah, or the creation. 14. On that of the wars of the Lord. 15. On that of Maimonides, called fad Chazaiah. 16. Orders of salvation, cabbalistical. 17. Eden the garden os the Lord, ditto. 18. Jaaleb's spring, ditto. 19. A comment on Job. 20. On some treatises of the thalmud. 21. A treatise on the end or coming of the Messiah. 22. On the pomegranate, cabbalistical. 23. Questions and answers. 24. The lilly of secrets, a cabbalistical exposition by numbers. 25. The square table. 26. The law of man, or directions how he ought to behave in sickness, death, mourning, and expectation of a future life.
no great figure in Palestine, during this interval; and contented themselves with having the free use of their schools and synagogues; and Nachmanides .was the only considerable doctor they had among them'1.
They did not fare much better in Egypt, where the invasion which St. Lewis made upon that kingdom, and the revolution that happened soon after under the Mamlukes, did not permit them to thrive either in wealth or learning; they being on the one hand excluded from having any share in public affairs, and on the other, had been obliged to set aside all thoughts of learning of any kind, insomuch that we read not of one rabbi of any note among them. There R.Simeon was, indeed, one Simeon Duran, in some city of Afric, who Duran, published some works, which the reader may fee in the mar- A. C. gin (O); but he was neither Egyptian nor African, but a '391native of Spain, whence he had brought with him the com- bis ivorh. ment of rabbi Alphez, which he translated there; aud he did not flourish till the latter end of the 14th centurye.
The Jews about Babylon, as well as the dispersed of the Saadodten tribes eastward, had suffered much, as we hinted a little dowlah, higher, from the invasion of the Tartars; but at length gained a considerable respite under Khan Argun f, by means of a JewiJJj physician named Saaddodowlah, a learned man, and agreeable companion, whom that prince made his prime minister. The Christian historians do him that justice, that he left them in quiet possession of what they had in that empire; but he made use of all the. interest he had with his prince/Æ'reKr^ to promote the interest of his own nation, and procured -^ Ar" them some considerable privileges. They did not enjoy them Sun» long, before Argun was taken dangerously ill, and died soon A. C. after; and Saaddodowlah, who was hated by the Moslems and 1291. Arabs for his kindness to the Jews, was accused by them of J< * having poisoned him, and massacred for it; and after him a 'I527>"
* De hoc vid. Bartoloc. ub. sup. Wolf. Bibl. Hæbr. N. |6i2. p. 876, &seq. * D'herbelot. Bibl. Orient, sub vog, •J- Dehoc vid. sup. vol. v.p. 179.
27. His conference with a Do- Fathers, another called Ohtf.
mink an friar, mentioned above Mijhfath, the Lover of Judgment;
(45). and, a third called Mifipath Tze
(O) Besides the version men- dek, the Judgment of Righteous
tioned above, he compiled a ncfi.m just Judgment (46); which
chronological catalogue of all twalalt Buxtorf has blended in
the ancient rabbies, intitled to one, because they are com
Maghtn Aboth, the Shield of the monly found bound together.
(4.5) Id, ibid, (tf) Bartol.ub.fup Um.'w.f? $11.
Jews peaceable under the Greeks.
Sadsiate in the weft.
vast number of his nationf. Notwithstanding which,, they found means to settle themselves in the territories, and even in the court of the Moguls after Argun's death (P), by the next century. But as we read of neither academies nor learned men amongst them, we may conclude that they were more intent on their worldly interest.
It is probable likewise that they enjoyed the same tranquility in the Grecian empire, during these two centuries; at least we meet with nothing to the contrary. And what confirms us that they enjoyed there a full liberty of their religion, is, that the Greek writers of those times condemned the violence which the Latins exercised against them, in forcing them to be baptized, though themselves were the most forward to judaize s. These reproaches were but too well founded, considering the cruel usage which the Jews met with from the crusaders, both in the west before they set out, and thro' every place of the east, where they came to; and that the pope and his clergy had revived several Jewish customs in the church, suclj as the eating of the paschal lamb, unleavened bread, and some others, which the reader may fee in the author quoted in the margin h.
It is time now to take a view of the Jewijli state in the western parts, where we mall find them no less oppressed than they were numerous and wealthy. For the latter seldom failed of exciting the jealousy of the clergy, and of producing the former. We begin with Spain, where they began to be persecuted from the very entrance of the 13th century, by, the bishop of Toledo'1, who beheld their increase in number-and
wealth with a jealous eye, and stirred up the populace against them; and putting himself at their head.Hvent and broke into their houses and synagogues, ancf plundered them (Q__). The A. C. crusaders, who were then preparing for their expedition into 'zo9the Holy Land k, and were soon after to have their rendezvous near that city, compleated what the prelate had begun, from a notion they took, that the destruction of those enemies of Christ, would undoubtedly obtain a blessing on their enter- i2'*/ prise; and accordingly made such havock amongst them, that Abravanel looks upon this persecution as one of the four fe-. verest ones that nation had ever suffered''; insomuch, that he reckons that a greater number of them went out of Spain, than that which Moses brought out of Egypt. The Spanish nobility did indeed interpose their authority to suppress the cruelties exercised against them; but king Ferdinand, who was then endeavouring to ingratiate himself with the zealots by the persecution of the Albigenses, and other heretics, encouraged the fame against the Jews, as the worst of them all. It is, The main however, certain, that if the Jews will deaj sincerely, they caufi °f'tmust attribute all these disasters to their shameful remissness, •• and open transgression of their law in several instances, which they acknowlege to be of the highest moment, and which the reader may fee in the margin (R).
They k Mariana, torn. xi. c. 22. p. 490. 'In Isaiarn, cap. 46.
(QJ His pretence for this to the Christians, on account of persecution, which reached, their scrupulous observance of however, no farther than their their Mijhnah, (which, as we goods and liberty of conscience, formerly have had occasion to was raised by that prelate on shew, is with them osmore than account of their having former- equal authority with the sacred ly betrayed the city of Toledo to books)* they had dispensed with the Moon. But that this was a many things which are there false accusation appears both strictly commanded; particufrom the silence of all historians larly with respect to the tephiof that time, and much more so lim, or philacteries, which they from the capitulation of the are bound to wear on their heads inhabitants, by which they were and hands; and concerning permitted either to leave the the wearing, shape, and matecountry, and take all their ef- rials of them, there were no less sects with them, or to stay and than eight decisions given to have the free use of their reli- them, as they word it, from gion, on paying the fame taxes Mount Sinai, among which that they had paid to the Gothi. of their being of a square form,
(R) It is plain that (in order and foiun itiith dried nerves. was
to render themselves less odious esteemed very considerable.
* See teftrifp. 134, sub. 1st.
Pennaforte ftrives to convert tkem,
TtfEY were since accused of an enormous crime, viz. of having stolen a youngchoirister of the cathedral of Saragoffa, named Dominick, and having crucified him. The discovery is, by the iegendaries of those times, ascribed to a miraculous light observed on the grave in which they had laid him, by the sea side; upon which he was taken up and sainted, and placed in that cathedral church m. The fact is backed with several other circumstances, almost as surprising *; but yet justly rejected as fabulous, by all but credulous bigots. However, we do not find that it produced any persecution; which is strange, if they really had been guilty of it; tho' it served to render them odious, and expose them to the insults of the populace ; which so intimidated them, that it helped to forward their conversion, which was then carrying on with great zeal and success, if those authors may be credited. Among those that were most zealous for this blessed work, was the learned Raymond Penneforte, general of the Dominicans, who was then in high esteem with James I. king of Arragon, and his confessor, as well as minister with the pope. He had already, by his credit and address, suppressed the violence of the populace against them, and persuaded that prince, that the most
m Bezovius annal. ad an. 1250. n Vincentblasco peristephan. Arragon, lib. iv. sol. 72. Tamaio Salazar Martyr Hisp. p. 625, & seq. Fascicul. temp, in Hist. Germ. torn. iii. sol. 18. Willelm. Monach. Veter. Ævi. Analect. & al.
And yet they had been so remiss
But another and more scan-
<viz. their intermarrying with strangers; and as thole with Christians were so severely forbidden, many of them made no scruple to marry Moorijb and Saracen women; insomuch that the famed Moses Coxzi, so named from the town of Coxzo in the Milanese, tho' a native o( Spain, and one of the most learned and zealous rabbies of that age, thundered out his anathema's against that practice with such vehemence, that he persuaded many of them to put away their strange wives. At that time the city of Toledo had no less than 1 z,000 Jews settled in it.