Barcelona and Beyond: The Disputation of 1263 and Its Aftermath

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University of California Press, Jun 3, 1992 - Religion - 268 pages
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In late July 1263 a public disputation was convened by King James I of Aragon, pitting Friar Paul Christian against the distinguished rabbi of Gerona, Moses ben Nahman. Organized by leading figures in the Dominican Order to give Friar Paul an opportunity to test his innovative missionizing argumentation against a worthy opponent, the spectacle in Barcelona was colorful, impressive, surely somewhat frightening to the Jews, and ultimately indecisive. Both sides claimed victory, and their documented claims have given rise to substantial disagreement among historians over the tone and outcome of this important event.

Robert Chazan's masterly analysis reconstructs the Barcelona disputation from the conflicting Christian and Jewish sources and sets it in its broad historical context, with particular attention to the post-disputation maneuvers on both sides. His richly detailed account focuses on Rabbi ben Nahman's eloquent efforts to reassure his fellow Jews in the face of new missionizing pressures.
 

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Contents

Setting and Dramatis Personae
17
The Disputation of 1263
39
The Aftermath of the Disputation Broad Perspectives
80
The Narrative Account of Rabbi Moses ben Nahman
100
The Issue of Rabbinic Aggadah
142
Explication of the Servant of the Lord Passage
158
Messianic Redemption Certain and Predictable
172
Epilogue
195
Rabbi Moses ben Nahman Bonastrug de Porta and Astrug de Porta
199
Notes
205
Bibliography
243
Index
253
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About the author (1992)

Robert Chazan holds the Scheuer Chair in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He is the author of Daggers of Faith (California, 1989).

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