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This presentation attempts to analyse how Johannes Buxtorf the elder (1564-1629), long-time professor of Hebrew at Basel, ethnographer, lexicographer, and textual critic,read Jewish books by examining one passage from the Sefer ha-Hayyim written by Hayyim ben Bezalel (Cracow, 1593), which Buxtorf chose to integrate into his polemical critique of Jewish allegiance to the Talmud in this opening chapter of the Juden—Schul. Hayyim ben Bezalel, fated to remain second fiddle to his brother, the Maharal of Prague, had his own battles to fight against both Jews and Christians. In the selected passage, Hayyim ben Bezalel defends the Talmud as a unique possession of the Jews and suggests a reason for the apparently ‘bewildering Aggadot’. By close scrutiny of both texts we consider how and why Hayyim ben Bezalel’s plea for the Talmud engaged Buxtorf’s attention and influenced the development of his argument?

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26-2-2012 1:00 PM

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26-2-2012 3:00 PM

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Feb 26th, 1:00 PM Feb 26th, 3:00 PM

Real or Virtual Contact? Johannes Buxtorf's Reading of Jewish Literature

This presentation attempts to analyse how Johannes Buxtorf the elder (1564-1629), long-time professor of Hebrew at Basel, ethnographer, lexicographer, and textual critic,read Jewish books by examining one passage from the Sefer ha-Hayyim written by Hayyim ben Bezalel (Cracow, 1593), which Buxtorf chose to integrate into his polemical critique of Jewish allegiance to the Talmud in this opening chapter of the Juden—Schul. Hayyim ben Bezalel, fated to remain second fiddle to his brother, the Maharal of Prague, had his own battles to fight against both Jews and Christians. In the selected passage, Hayyim ben Bezalel defends the Talmud as a unique possession of the Jews and suggests a reason for the apparently ‘bewildering Aggadot’. By close scrutiny of both texts we consider how and why Hayyim ben Bezalel’s plea for the Talmud engaged Buxtorf’s attention and influenced the development of his argument?