Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Ibn Verga, Solomon

  • Maurice KriegelEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_797-1


Solomon Ibn Verga lived in Spain when the Jews were expelled in 1492, and lived apparently until around 1530. His only work, entitled in Hebrew Shevet Yehudah – variously rendered as “The Staff of Judah,” “The Scourge of Judah,” or “The tribe of Judah” – deals with the history of the Jews, especially in the late medieval period. The author provides specific historical data, but also brings dubious information, following the model employed in one of his works by the Spanish court preacher, Antonio de Guevara (c. 1480–1545). The work also features fictional dialogues and epistles. As such, it reflects the influence of Renaissance modes of writing and at the same time paves the way to Modern Hebrew literature. Ibn Verga develops a comprehensive doctrine of tolerance, disparages both Christian and Jewish popular beliefs, as well as learned theological concepts in the two religious traditions, in which he sees flights of fancy: religions, he contends, “do not exist but with the imagination.” Having lived in Spain when the Inquisition was founded, he wishes Christians to become open to religious difference. He also thinks that some Jewish rites and beliefs inevitably foster hostility, and calls on Jews to abandon or transform them. He ponders the respective roles of providential and natural causes in history, and some of his ideas have been compared to those of Giambattista Vico (1668–1744).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Primary Literature

    The Hebrew text

    1. Yehudah, Shevet, ed. 1947. Azriel Shohat and Yitzhak Baer. Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik.Google Scholar

    German translation

    1. Wiener, M. 1856. Das Buch Schevet Jehuda von R. Salomo aben Verga. Hannover: Rümpler. (reed. Berlin: Parerga, 2006).Google Scholar

    Spanish translations

    1. Salómon ben Verga, Chebet Jehuda: La vara de Judá. Traducción por Francisco Cantera Burgos. Granada: López-Guevara.Google Scholar
    2. Selomoh Ibn Verga. 1991. La Vara de Yehudah. Introducción, traducción y notas por María José Cano. Barcelona: Riopiedras Ediciones.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Baer, Yitzhaq. 1923. Untersuchungen über Quellen und komposition des Schevet Jehuda. Berlin: Schwetske and Son.Google Scholar
  2. Baer, Yitzhaq. 1934. New notes on Shevet Yehudah, (Hebrew). Tarbiz 6: 152–179.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, Jeremy. 2016. A Historian in Exile. Solomon ibn Verga, “Shevet Yehudah”, and the Jewish-Christian encounter. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  4. Gutwirth, Eleazar. 1988. The expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Jewish historiography. In Jewish history: Essays in honour of Chimen Abramsky, ed. Ada Rapaport-Albert and Steven J. Zipperstein, 141–161. London: Halban.Google Scholar
  5. Niewöhner, Friedrich. 1989. Are the founders of religions impostors? In Maimonides and philosophy, ed. Shlomo Pines and Yirmiyahu Yovel, 233–244. Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  6. Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. 1976. The Lisbon massacre of 1506 and the royal image in the Shebet Yehudah. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.Google Scholar
  7. Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. 2005. Servants of kings and not servants of servants: Some aspects of the political history of the Jews. Atlanta: Emory University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École des Hautes Études en Sciences SocialesParisFrance

Section editors and affiliations

  • Vasileios Syros
    • 1
  1. 1.Finnish Center of Political Thought & Conceptual ChangeJYVÄSKYLÄN YLIOPISTOFinland