Authors, Collators, and Forgers: Recovering Rabbinic Culture in Late Medieval Avignon

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This article explores the works of four Jewish intellectuals who lived in or near Avignon at the end of the fourteenth century: Isaac de Lattes, Joseph Kimḥi, Eliezer Crescas, and Jacob Salomon. Each of these authors wrote a different type of rabbinic book, shedding light on shared themes and concerns that dominated their city. Their works express—sometimes explicitly, but often implicitly and through their very structure—deep-seated anxieties about the state of Jewish knowledge and communal memory in late medieval Provence. Their concerns with the construction of identity, magic, patronage, and the preservation of knowledge all set the stage for the enigmatic Moses Botarel. Shameless self-promoter and ingenious literary forger, Botarel served as a mirror of the achievements and vulnerabilities of late medieval rabbinic culture in Provence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-59
Number of pages29
JournalThe Jewish Quarterly Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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