Sefer HaQabbalah: The Book of Tradition

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9781904113317: Sefer HaQabbalah: The Book of Tradition
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The glorious history of the Jews of Andalusian Spain came to an abrupt end in 1147-48 with the Almohade invasion and upheaval. Many old and renowned Jewish communities, among them Cordoba, Granada, Seville, and Lucena, were wiped out. Thousands of Jews fled north to Christian Spain where they found a new home and sought to revive the rich communal life they and their ancestors had enjoyed for centuries in. Some thirteen years after the calamity and now based in Toledo, Abraham ibn Daud wrote a historical epitaph to the golden age that had produced such courtiers, rabbis, and poets as Hisdai ibn Sharput, Samuel the Nagid, Isaac al-Fasi, and Judah ha-Levi. While Ibn Daud has gained distinction as the first Jewish Aristotelian on the Iberian peninsula, he is no less famous as the first chronicler of Andalusian Jewry. Part of a historical trilogy, Sefer ha-Qabbalah (The Book of Tradition) is formally structured as a history of the Jews and Judaism from ancient times to 1161.

Writing in an age of deep communal anguish, Ibn Daud lent his support to the efforts to revive the historic community of Spain by attempting to prove that the only legitimate form of Jewish life and the only rightful spokesman of that tradition were rabbinism and the rabbinic leadership. The avowed stimulus for this motivation was the threat posed by the small sectarian Jewish community of Karaites, who had long since found a home in Christian Spain and had succeeded in gaining considerable influence there. Ibn Daud's work is thus a basic introduction to the way of life, tensions, and achievements of the rabbinic civilization that flowered under the protection and stimulus of Muslim domination. Gerson D. Cohen's edition of this historical classic, first published in 1967, provides a critical text of the original along with translation, commentary, and analysis.

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The late 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 also a former Professor of Jewish Literature and Institutions, at the Jewish Theological Seminary, as
well as its Chancellor. He died in 1991.

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Abraham ibn Daud
Published by The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization in association with Liverpool University Press (2005)
ISBN 10: 1904113311 ISBN 13: 9781904113317
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