Ibn Fadanj

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IBN FADANJ (Fadanq ), an old and distinguished family of Toledo, Spain. The merchant brothers ibrahim and jacob (mid-11th century) emigrated by Ereẓ Israel, where they joined the Karaite community in Ramleh. It is possible that they had Karaite convictions beforehand, as a Karaite community existed in Toledo. The story of their eventful trip and subsequent trials and tribulations comes from a letter – attached to a map of Jerusalem – written in 1053 by Simeon b. Saul ibn Israel to his sister in Toledo; it was found in the Cairo Genizah. According to the letter, the brothers were kidnapped on the way and brought to Constantinople, finally arriving as penniless captives in Ramleh. They wished to remain members of the Karaite community there, but several women from Toledo, who lived in Ramleh, informed Karaite officials that the brothers were married to two sisters, an act forbidden by the Karaite law. The case was handled in both Karaite and Rabbanite courts. Ibrahim then went to Jerusalem, settled on the outskirts of the city, and returned to Rabbanism. Jacob remained a Karaite. The story is important for its description of the legal proceedings, interactions, and life in Rabbanite and Karaite communities in Ereẓ Israel in that period. Descendants of the Ibn Fadanj family continued to live in Toledo and are mentioned in several documents dating from the Christian period.


Abraham Ibn Daud, Sefer ha-QabbalahThe Book of Tradition, ed. by G.D. Cohen (1967), xlii–lxii; A. González Palencia, Los Mozárabes de Toledo, 3 (1928), 592–4, no. 1150; S. Assaf, in: Zion, 6 (1940/41), 32–44; Ashtor, Korot, 2 (19662), 141f; idem, in: Sefarad, 24 (1964), 47–59.

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Ibn Fadanj

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