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The En Yaaqov

Jacob ibn Habib’s Search for Faith in the Talmudic Corpus

Marjorie Lehman

Publication Year: 2011

Examines the origins of the En Yaaqov in the tumultuous medieval period and the motivations of its creator, exiled Spanish rabbi Jacob ibn Habib.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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p. v

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pp. viii-xi

Today there is little left of the Salonikan Jewish community that ibn H. abib worked to build in those early years of the sixteenth century. Few Greek Jews survived Hitler’s Holocaust. But the Talmudic texts ibn H. abib studied and the work that he compiled in Salonika, the En Yaaqov, have...

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pp. 1-15

For Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the medieval world, religion and faith were wedded intimately. The nature of this relationship was defined and redefined by an array of thinkers, each searching for religious meaning. A combined sense of fidelity to the past and of sensitivity to the intellectual...

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1. From Spain to the Ottoman Empire: The Life and Contexts of Jacob ibn Habib

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pp. 17-50

Rabbi Jacob ibn Habib, the original creator of the En Yaaqov, authored this work in response to a particular Spanish intellectual orbit. But the development of his ideas about the nature and meaning of the aggadot of the Talmud was also an outgrowth of his encounter with the challenges that...

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2. The En Yaaqov: A Response to the Problems and Challenges of Aggadah

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pp. 51-82

The En Yaaqov entered the Jewish world during the early decades of Spanish Jewish resettlement in the Ottoman empire. As an early sixteenth-century anthology of the Talmud’s nonlegal (aggadic) passages, it was a unique document in that it also contained the first anthology of aggadic commentaries...

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3. Rethinking the Image of the Talmud

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pp. 83-116

Judaism’s textual practices are ontologically and historically at the heart of Jewish identity. Jacob ibn Habib, who thought about this “textual fabric”1 in terms of the Jews’ development of an ongoing interpretive relationship with the Talmud, employed a textual strategy that reshaped the image of...

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4. From Talmudic Text to Theology: The Search for God, the Search for Home

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pp. 117-174

In describing the survival of Judaism through the ages, George Steiner wrote, “The text is home; each commentary a return [to it].”1 Steiner’s words illustrate ibn Habib’s encounter with Talmudic aggadah. His journey “home” to the texts of the Talmud was motivated by a host of historical and...

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5. The Success and the Failure of ibn Habib’s En Yaaqov

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pp. 175-188

Shulamit Soloveitchik Meiselman describes how the people of her father’s East European shtetl took pleasure in a nightly group class studying the “tales of ibn Habib.”1 Rayna Batya, the first wife of Naftali Tsvi Judah Berlin (Netsiv) and the granddaughter of Hayyim of Volozhin, pored over the...

Appendix: Pages from Editions of the En Yaaqov/En Yisrael, 1516–1923

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pp. 189-204


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pp. 205-290


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pp. 291-312


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pp. 313-319

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335963
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814334805

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 15
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a

OCLC Number: 794925789
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The En Yaaqov

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Subject Headings

  • Ibn Ḥabib, Jacob ben Solomon, 1445?-1515 or 16.
  • Aggada -- History and criticism.
  • Ein Yaʻakov.
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