Category: Jewish History

Enter the worlds of the Rishonim and early Achronim. The focus of the articles in this category is historical, including sociopolitical and intellectual history.

  • The Jewish Mapmakers of Majorca

    The Jewish Mapmakers of Majorca

    Image: Four leaves (each split in two) of the Catalan Atlas, showing the Mediterranean basin. On an island in the Mediterranean in the 14th century there lived a mapmaker and his son. Their story, like all good stories, is at once highly particular, a tale about idiosyncratic individuals in a distinct time and place, but…

    Read More

  • Radak’s Use of Bereshit Rabbati

    Radak’s Use of Bereshit Rabbati

    Image: “Arch of Titus” by Nick in exsilio is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 In his long comment on Bereshit 1:31, Radak includes an interesting midrash that he attributes to Bereshit Rabbati. Actually, the reference is itself embedded in an arresting interpretation of this blockbuster pasuk: וַיַּ֤רְא אֱלֹקים֙ אֶת־כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וְהִנֵּה־ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם…

    Read More

  • Rashi’s Citations of Moshe ha-Darshan

    Rashi’s Citations of Moshe ha-Darshan

    Among the contemporaries Rashi cites in his commentaries, Moshe ha-Darshan is quoted a relatively few, yet still significant, number of times: Rashi cites him by name 17 times in his Tanakh commentary and twice in the Talmud commentary. Moshe ha-Darshan was a scholar active in Provence in the first half of the 11th century, in…

    Read More