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).
Barcelona and Beyond: The Disputation of 1263 and Its Aftermathby Robert Chazan
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
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.
- University of California Press
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.42(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.37(d)
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In 'Barcelona and Beyond,' Robert Chazan attempts to rebuild the Disputation of 1263 by comparing the Hebrew and Latin accounts of the event, as well as analysing the events following 1263. Robert Chazan presents the reader with the different points of view concerning the Barcelona disputation by historians like Y Baer and Martin A. Cohen. Chazan believes that this views are highly influenced by partisan views that results in the branding one account and accepting another as an accurate description of the Barcelona disputation. Unfortunately, the author seems to be influnced by such partisan view by focusing his analysis in the Hebrew account by Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman). Chazan gives little credit to the importance of this account by presenting the account as an exaggeration and the product of a talented writter. On the other hand, Chazan provides an interesting results by comparing both accounts, as well as useful information about how life was like in the kingdom of Aragon during the days of the disputation. Chazan also introduces the reader to the main participants of the Disputation of 1263: King James the Conqueror, Friar Paul Christian (a converted Jew), and Rabbi Moses ben Nahman of Geroan. This book is useful for those familiar with the Hebrew and Latin accounts, documents that the author does not provide, with the exception of certain sections he uses in his analysis of the Barcelona disputation