Jewish Anti-Christian Polemical Treatises in Early Modern Central and Eastern Europe

Where are They?

  • Daniel J. Lasker Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
Słowa kluczowe: Polemics, Jewish-Christian, Relations, Jewish-Christian, Early Modern, Central and Eastern Europe, Interreligious Polemics, Karaism

Abstrakt


Jewish anti-Christian polemical treatises comprise a well-known genre in medieval Jewish literature. It is generally thought that these books were written in response to Christian missionary pressure. Yet, when considering Central and Eastern Europe in the early modern period, one sees that this genre is almost nonexistent, despite continuing Christian attempts at converting Jews. An analysis of medieval Jewish anti-Christian writings shows that rather than being necessarily a response to Christian missionary pressure, many of them are part of the larger Jewish theological enterprise. Hence, such works are prevalent in areas where Jews engaged in theology – the Islamic world, Iberia, Provence, and Italy – and almost nonexistent in northern Europe (Ashkenaz), where there was little interest in theology. This pattern continued into the early modern period, at which time Ashkenazic Jews still produced almost no anti-Christian polemical works. The most important early modern, Central and Eastern European anti-Christian book, the very popular Faith Strengthened, was written by a Lithuanian Karaite Isaac of Troki (died 1594), reinforcing our knowledge that Central and Eastern European Karaite Jews did not share the Ashkenazi intellectual ethos of their Rabbanite neighbors.

Biogram autora

Daniel J. Lasker, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel

Daniel J. Lasker – the Norbert Blechner Professor of Jewish Values (Emeritus) in the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Beer Sheva. In addition, Prof. Lasker has taught at Yale, Princeton, Ohio State, and Yeshiva Universities; University of Toronto, University of Texas, University of Washington; Boston, Queens, Ahva and Kirkland Colleges, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. His areas of interest are medieval Jewish philosophy (including the thought of Rabbi Judah Halevi, Maimonides, and Rabbi Hasdai Crescas), the Jewish-Christian debate, Karaism, and selected issues in Jewish theology and law. He is the author of Jewish Philosophical Polemics Against Christianity in the Middle Ages (1977; 2nd ed., 2007); The Refutation of the Christian Principles by Hasdai Crescas (1992); From Judah Hadassi to Elijah Bashyatchi: Studies in Late Medieval Karaite Philosophy (2008); The Sage Simhah Isaac Lutski. An Eighteenth-Century Karaite Rabbi. Selected Writings (2015; Hebrew); (with Johannes Niehoff-Panagiotidis and David Sklare), Theological Encounters at a Crossroads: A Preliminary Edition of Judah Hadassi’s Eshkol ha-kofer, First Commandment, and Studies of the Book’s Judaeo-Arabic and Byzantine Contexts (2019); and many other publications.

Bibliografia

Akhiezer G., “The Karaite Author Isaac ben Abraham of Troki and his Polemics against Rabbanites,” in Tradition, Heterodoxy and Religious Culture: Judaism and Christianity in the Early Modern Period (eds. Ch. Goodblatt, H. Kreisel) (The Goldstein-Goren Library of Jewish Thought 6; Beer Sheva: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press 2006) 437–468.

Akhiezer G. – Lasker D.J., “Solomon ben Aaron of Troki and his Anti-Christian Treatise ‘Migdal ‘Oz’,” in Eastern European Karaites in the Last Generations (eds. D.D.Y. Shapira – D.J. Lasker) (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 2011) 97–129 (Hebrew).

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Lasker D.J., “Anti-Christian Polemics in Eighteenth-Century Italy,” in Proceedings of the Eleventh World Congress of Jewish Studies, Division B, Vol. 1 (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies 1994) 185–192 (Hebrew).

Lasker D.J., From Judah Hadassi to Elijah Bashyatchi: Studies in Late Medieval Karaite Philosophy (Leiden – Boston: Brill 2008).

Lasker D.J., “Jewish Anti-Christian Polemics in Light of Mass Conversion to Christianity,” in Polemical Encounters: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Iberia and Beyond (eds. M. García-Arenal – G. Wiegers) (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press 2019) 103–116.

Lasker D.J., “The Jewish Critique of Christianity – In Search of a New Narrative,” Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 6 (2011) 1–9.

Lasker D.J., “The Jewish Critique of Christianity Under Islam in the Middle Ages,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 57 (1991) 121–153.

Lasker D.J., Jewish Philosophical Polemics Against Christianity in the Middle Ages (New York: Ktav 1977); 2nd e d. (Oxford-Portland, O R: Oxford Littman Library of Jewish Civilization 2007).

Lasker D.J., “Jewish Philosophical Polemics in Ashkenaz,” in Contra Iudaeos: Ancient and Medieval Polemics Between Jews and Christians (eds. O. Limor – G. Stroumsa) (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr 1996) 195–213.

Lasker D.J., “Joseph ben Nathan’s Sefer Yosef Ha-Mekanné and the Medieval Jewish Critique of Christianity,” in Jews and Christians in Thirteenth Century France (eds. J.D. Galinsky – E. Baumgarten) (New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2015) 113–122.

Lasker D.J., “Karaism and Christianity: An Evolving Relationship,” in New Perspectives on Jewish-Christian Relations. In Honor of David Berger (eds. E. Carlebach – J.J. Schacter) (Leiden – Boston: Brill 2012) 477–487.

Lasker D.J., “Reflections of the Medieval Jewish-Christian Debate in the Theological-Political Treatise and the Epistles,” in Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise: A Critical Guide (eds. Y.Y. Melamed – M.A. Rosenthal) (Cambridge Critical Guides; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010) 56–71.

Lasker D.J., “Saadia on Christianity and Islam,” in The Jews of Medieval Islam: Community, Society, and Identity (ed. D. Frank) (Leiden: Brill 1995) 165–177.

Lasker D.J., “Sefer Ḥerev Pifiyyot’ of Saul ben Joseph Merari (?). An Italian Jewish Anti-Christian Polemic of the Eighteenth Century,” Italia 12 (1996) 7–35 (Hebrew section).

Lasker D.J. – Stroumsa S., The Polemic of Nestor the Priest, 2 Vols. (Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute 1996).

Lipmann Muhlhausen Y.-T., Sefer Niẓẓaḥon, ed. Theodor Hackspan, Altdorf, 1644 (reproduction with introduction by Ephraim Talmage, Jerusalem: Dinur Center 1984).

Mazur P.A., Conversion to Catholicism in Early Modern Italy (New York – London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group 2016).

Mendelssohn M., Jerusalem and Other Jewish Writings, trans. and ed. A. Jospe (New York: Schocken Books 1969).
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Rosenthal J.M., “Jacob of Bełżyce and His Polemical Book,” Gal-Ed 1 (1973) 13–30 (Hebrew).

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Yudisher Theriak. An Early Modern Yiddish Defense of Judaism, ed. and transl. M.M. Faierstein (Detroit: Wayne State University Press 2016).
Opublikowane
2019-01-07
Dział
Polemics