publisher colophon

43. Seal of Gervais the Jew

S. GERVASII IVDEI

Dimensions: unknown.

Location: unknown.

Bibliography: Longpérier, 1872a, 1872b; Blumenkranz, 1965–66, No. 2, 24 (1); Bedos, 1980b, No. 2, 24 (1).

A very odd seal was touched on by Adrien de Longpérier in two articles in 1872. Now unlocatable, it was found near Mâcon in Burgundy and dates by style from the thirteenth or, more likely, the fourteenth century. The Latin inscription reads S. Gervasii Ivdei* the letters circling an open hand. This symbol is interpreted by Longpérier as standing for a cohen tsedek, or righteous priest, a reading accepted by later commentators.

Longpérier translates the inscription as Seal of Gervasii belonging to the Jews, more simply translated here as “Seal of Gervais the Jew.” If the inscription is correct, it is difficult to see how this can be a practicing Jew’s personal seal. The name is a main stumbling block. There is a Roman Catholic Saint Gervais, and Gervais is typically a rather aristocratic name used by French Christians, and by English recusants as well. Since the seal is lost, the exact inscription cannot be checked.


*Longpérier (1872b) also gives the seal legend as Gervasius Ivdaevs. This discrepancy is difficult to understand.

The use of a single hand to represent the priestly blessing would be very unusual indeed, as the reference is always plural. In rabbinic literature it is known as the “raising of the hands” (see Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Priestly Blessing”).

*Longpérier (1872b) also gives the seal legend as Gervasius Ivdaevs. This discrepancy is difficult to understand.

The use of a single hand to represent the priestly blessing would be very unusual indeed, as the reference is always plural. In rabbinic literature it is known as the “raising of the hands” (see Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Priestly Blessing”).

A very odd seal was touched on by Adrien de Longpérier in two articles in 1872. Now unlocatable, it was found near Mâcon in Burgundy and dates by style from the thirteenth or, more likely, the fourteenth century. The Latin inscription reads S. Gervasii Ivdei* the letters circling an open hand. This symbol is interpreted by Longpérier as standing for a cohen tsedek, or righteous priest, a reading accepted by later commentators.

A very odd seal was touched on by Adrien de Longpérier in two articles in 1872. Now unlocatable, it was found near Mâcon in Burgundy and dates by style from the thirteenth or, more likely, the fourteenth century. The Latin inscription reads S. Gervasii Ivdei* the letters circling an open hand. This symbol is interpreted by Longpérier as standing for a cohen tsedek, or righteous priest, a reading accepted by later commentators.

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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