The Book of Tradition / Sefer ha-Qabbalah

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9780827609167: The Book of Tradition / Sefer ha-Qabbalah
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An epitaph to the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry Hundreds of years before the Inquisition, the Almohade invasion of Spain wiped out many of the Spanish Jewish communities in Muslim Andalusia ending the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry. Thousands of Jews fled north to Christian Spain, where they had to live among Karaite Jews very different from themselves. Philosopher Abraham ibn Daud responded to this upheaval by writing The Book of Tradition, known as Sefer ha-Qabbalah. This epic on Jewish history from ancient times to the 12th century eulogized Spanish Jewry and reminded readers of a once-thriving culture. No one before had ever attempted to write such a broad history of Jewish civilization. The Book of Tradition is unique and one of the first examples of Jewish historiography. In JPS’s edition of this classic work, first published in 1967, renowned scholar Gerson D. Cohen presents his translation of ibn Daud’s entire text, as well as commentary and an extensive introduction that masterfully provides context for the reader.

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An epitaph to the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry

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The Book of Tradition: Sefer ha-Qabbalah An epitaph to the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry

Centuries before the Inquisition, Spanish Jews flourished in Muslim Andalusia--until their communities were abruptly destroyed in the mid-12th century by the Almohade invasion. Forced to flee to Christian Spain, the surviving Jews found themselves living among the Karaites, a disparate Jewish sect that rejected Oral Law and Rabbinic Judaism.

As a response to the resulting upheaval and the threat posed by the Karaites, philosopher Abraham ibn Daud wrote The Book of Tradition, known as Sefer ha-Qabbalah, a unique chronicle of the Andalusian Jews' once-thriving culture, from ancient times to the 12th century.

Ibn Daud's work is a fine introduction to the way of life, and the tensions and achievements of the Rabbinic civilization that flowered under the protection and stimulus of Muslim domination, and that produced such courtiers, rabbis, and poets as Hisdai ibn Sharput, Samuel the Nagid, Isaac al-Fasi, and Judah ha-Levi.

First published in 1967, this classic work features a translation, commentary, and introduction by renowned scholar Gerson D. Cohen.

Abraham ibn Daud (c.1110-1180), physician and historian, was a pioneer in Jewish philosophy, the first Jewish Aristotelian on the Iberian peninsula. But he is probably most esteemed today as the first chronicler of Andalusian Jewry.

Gerson D. Cohen was professor of History at Columbia University. Educated at the City College of New York, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Columbia University, he was formerly assistant professor of Jewish Literature and Institutions at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He died in 1991.

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