By Yitzhak Baer
Original 12 months of publication: 1961
One of the century's nice classics of Jewish historiography, A historical past of the Jews in Christian Spain lines the commercial, social, felony, and political lifetime of the Spanish Jewish neighborhood from the eleventh-century re-conquest of Iberia from Muslim rule to the expulsion of 1492. the second one quantity of Professor Baer's enormous paintings tells the tragic tale of the dissolution of the nice Spanish Jewish group. An strange characteristic of the quantity are the various and infrequently wide quotations from medieval Jewish writings by no means ahead of rendered into English. they supply a chance to relish the paintings of the mystics and rationalists, the poets and spiritual disputants of the era.
About the Author
Professor Yitzhak (Fritz) Baer spent a long time gaining knowledge of within the Spanish data. He released hundreds of thousands of records concerning the main points of Jewish lifestyles within the Iberian Peninsula and at the dating of the Jews to their Christian rulers and friends. Later, after settling in what's now Israel as Professor of historical past on the Hebrew college, he wrote his precis of the interval, that is now made to be had in translation from the Hebrew.
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Extra info for A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, Volume II: from the Fourteenth Century to the Expulsion
No reports of such journeys in the 1370’s and 1380’s have been found; but this may be accidental, because the notarial registers of Barcelona and other Catalonian cities, where such records are to be sought, have not yet been thoroughly scrutinized. In general, political conditions were not conducive to free commercial enterprise on the part of Jews. In 1381 the municipal council of Barcelona forbade the 36 REORGANIZATION TION AND SOCIAL CONFLICT WITHIN THE ALJAMAS REORGANIZA Catalonian consul in Alexandria to rent rooms or shops in its fondaco (inn) to Jews or Moslems.
Nevertheless, the communal takkanoth of 1354 (which will be discussed later) refer to anti-Jewish trials and to the torture of Jews in order to make them confess to false charges. But the archives of the royal chancery of Aragon contain no references to such incidents. In Barcelona and smaller 24 THE ERA O F DECLINE IN ARAGON communities in northern Catalonia Jews were killed, Jewish houses demolished, and promissory notes torn up (May-June 1348). Some of the Jewish notables of Perpignan underwent baptism to save their lives.
Isaac b. Sheshet’s responsa on the constitution of the Barcelona aljama indicate that the leaders tried to extend the scope of their jurisdiction by diverse means. Instead of the legal elections under the takkanoth of 1327, they instituted a system which jurists call electio per compromissarios (elections by arbitrators). In essence, all these intrigues reveal the usual symptoms of a corrupt oligarchy. The meek and humble pietists, the poor, and the artisans, who constituted the majority of the Jewish population, could not long reconcile themselves to such a situation.