Reconstructing Thirteenth-Century Jewish–Christian Polemic: From Paris 1240 to Barcelona 1263 and Back Again

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This chapter considers the historiography of Dominican engagement with the Talmud and other postbiblical Hebrew sources while also going on to consider Jewish-Christian polemical arguments more generally. The author sees Nahmanides’s Hebrew account of the 1263 debate as a starting point for discussing similar documents from other thirteenth-century Jewish-Christian disputations and conflicts, above all the “Talmud Trial” of the 1240s that took place in Paris after charges of blasphemy were brought against the Talmud by the converted Jew and Dominican Nicholas Donin. He compares the Hebrew account of the events in the 1240s (written, in the opinion of most scholars, soon afterwards by Joseph ben Nathan Official, author of the Hebrew Sefer Yosef ha-meqanneʾ, or Book of Joseph the Zealot), with Nahmanides’s account of the Barcelona Disputation and with an anonymous Hebrew account of Pablo’s later harangue to the Jews of Paris in the early 1270s. By noting the parallels between the various Hebrew accounts, he suggests that the account of Joseph ben Nathan Official was actually written much later and modeled on the texts from Paris and Barcelona.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationMedieval Exegesis and Religious Difference
Subtitle of host publicationCommentary, Conflict, and Community in the Premodern Mediterranean
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780823264650
ISBN (Print)9780823264629
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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