Jacob ben Judah of London

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JACOB BEN JUDAH OF LONDON (13th century), English rabbinical scholar. Either he or, more probably, his father, Judah b. R. Jacob he-Arukh (perhaps corresponding to Le Long in secular records), was ḥazzan of the London community. Jacob of London was the author of Eẓ Ḥayyim (c. 1286), a comprehensive handbook to Jewish religious law and ritual, the most ambitious work now extant by a medieval English Jew. The author's object was to supplement the Sefer Mitzvot Gadol of *Moses of Coucy by including such practical guiding rules as were absent from the book. To a great extent the Eẓ Ḥayyim follows Maimonides' Code, and is of some importance for establishing the correct text of that work in many passages. The author cites conditions in France, where he had presumably studied, and speaks also of Spanish usages. He quotes several Anglo-Jewish writers, including Joseph of Lincoln, Moses of London and his father Yom Tov, Berechiah of Lincoln, Elijah Menahem of London, and Isaac b. Perez of Northampton, and his work sometimes throws light on Anglo-Jewish conditions in the Middle Ages. Excerpts from the work were published by D. Kaufmann and H. Adler. The full text was edited by Israel Brodie (3 vols., 1962–67).


H. Adler, in: Festschrift… M. Steinschneider (1896), 241f. (Eng., Ger. section), 186–208 (Heb. section); Kaufmann, in: jqr, 4 (1891/92), 20–63, 550–61; 5 (1892/93), 353–74; 6 (1893/94), 754–6; Marmorstein, ibid., 19 (1928/29), 32–36; C. Roth, Intellectual Activities of Medieval English Jewry (1948), 39–43.

[Cecil Roth]

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Jacob ben Judah of London

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