Before the Sixteenth Century

  • Lionel Kochan


Even if the predominant historiographical modes practised in Israel were the chain of rabbinic tradition and the messianic, it would be absurd and simplistic to assume that these two genres exhausted all historical interest. Such a view would overlook the chronicles of martyrology and persecution that began to appear from the earliest period of the Diaspora.1 This material does indeed embody a primary response to the major events affecting Jewish life, whether in Babylon, Spain, France or Germany, and constitutes also a reflection on those events.


Sixteenth Century Jewish Life Jewish History Contemporary History Islam Part 


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  1. 1.
    In fact, Elias Tcherikower (‘Jewish Martyrology and Jewish Historiography’, Yivo Annual of Jewish Social Science, i, New York, 1946, 9–23)Google Scholar
  2. A. N. Neubauer, Medieval Jewish Chronicles (repr. Amsterdam, 1970).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    R. Ghazan, ‘R. Ephraim of Bonn’s Sefer Zekhira’, Revue des Etudes Juives, cxxxii (Jan-June 1973) fasc. 1–2. As a boy of thirteen R. Ephraim took refuge in the citadel of Wolkenburg near Cologne during the second crusade.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. A. Shulvass, ‘Ha’Yedia b’Historiya ve’ha’Sifrut ha’historit bi’Tkhum ha’Tarbut shel ha’Yahadut ha’Ashkenazit bi’ymei ha’beinayim’, Sefer Ha’Yovel le’R. H. Albeck (Jerusalem, 1963) p. 465.Google Scholar
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    Ed. M. Grossberg (London, 1910); see also M. Steinschneider, Die Geschichtsliteratur der Juden (Frankfurt, 1905) p. 12, para. 11.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Collated and edited by Aaron Hyman (London, 1910); A. Spanier, Die Toseftaperiode in der tannaitischen Literatur (Berlin, 1936) pp. 5ff.Google Scholar
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    Edited by R. J. L. Ha’Cohen Maimon under the title Yehuse Tannaim Ve’ Amoraim (Jerusalem, 1963);Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Mishneh Torah, Book i: Knowledge, ch. 1; Guide of the Per- plexed, iii, 29. See also S. W. Baron, History and Jewish Historians (Philadelphia, 1968) pp. 116ff.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Some of the reasons for this difference are examined in G. D. Cohen, ‘Messianic Postures of Ashkenazim and Sephardim’, Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture 9 (New York, 1967).Google Scholar
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    Torat Ha’Shem Temima, ed. A. Jellinek (Leipzig, 1853) pp. 30ff;Google Scholar
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    L. Stitskin, Judaism as a Philosophy (New York, 1960)Google Scholar
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    R. W. Southern, ‘Aspects of the Europeantradition of historical writing: 2. Hugh of St. Victor and the idea of historical development’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, vol. xxi (1971) 159ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    I. Elbogen, Abraham Ibn Daud als Geschichtsschreiber, Festschrift für Jakob Guttman (Leipzig, 1915) p. 187.Google Scholar
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    G. D. Cohen, op. cit., p. 288; see also I. Baer, Toldoth Ha’Yehudim bi’Sefarad Ha’Notzrit, 2nd ed., vol. i (Tel Aviv, 1965) pp. 38–9, and G. D. Cohen’s Messianic Postures, pp. 19ff.Google Scholar
  15. 37.
    Philippe Wolff, ‘The 1391 Pogrom in Spain-Social Crisis or not?’, Past and Present, no. 50 (Feb 1971).Google Scholar
  16. Erwin I. J. Rosenthal, ‘Don Isaac Abrabanel: Financier, Statesman and Scholar’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library (Manchester, 1937)Google Scholar
  17. Abraham Heschel, Don Yizchak Abrabanel (Berlin, 1937).Google Scholar
  18. 39.
    J. Sarachek, The Doctrine of the Messiah in Medieval Jewish Literature, 2nd ed. (New York, 1968), pp. 244ff.;Google Scholar
  19. Jakob Guttmann, Die religionsphilosophischen Lehren des Isaak Abravanel (Breslau, 1916) pp. 99–100,Google Scholar
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    B. Netanyahu, Don Isaac Abrabanel (Philadelphia, 1968) pp. 245ff;Google Scholar
  21. J. Rohr, ‘Die Prophetie im letzten Jahrhundert vor der Reformation als Geschichtsquelle und Geschichtsfaktor’, Historisches Jahrbuch der Görresgesellschaft, xix, (Munich, 1898) pp. 29–56, 447–66.Google Scholar
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    Ateret Zekenim (Warsaw, 1894) p. 34. Abrabanel’s attitude to astrology is not clear. For a discussion cf. E. Shmueli, Don Yitzchak Abrabanel ve’Gerush Sepharad (Jerusalem, 1963) pp. 127ff. In any case it is clear that Israel’s good deeds could avert an unfavourable planetary conjunction (p. 132); see also Sarachek, op. cit., p. 297, and Guttman, op. cit., pp. 51ff.Google Scholar
  23. 52.
    See Leo Strauss’s remarks in Isaac Abrabanel, ed. Trend-Loewe (Cambridge, 1937) pp. 108–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lionel Kochan 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Kochan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickUK

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