Jacob (Jakób) of Belzyce
JACOB (Jakób) OF BELZYCE
JACOB (Jakób ) OF BELZYCE (16th century), scholar and physician in Poland. He took part in religious *disputations, mainly with the radical wing of Polish anti-trinitarians. Jacob's views, and even his very existence and activity, are known through the work of Marcin Czechowic: Odpis Jakóba Żyda z Bełżyc na Dyalogi Marcina Czechowica: na ktory zas odpowiada Jakobowi Żydowi tenze Marcin Czechowic ("The Reply of the Jew Jacob of Belzyce to the Dialogues of Marcin Czechowic: With the Reply of the Said Czechowic to the Jew Jacob") completed at Lublin on Dec. 16, 1581. This sums up – though with a Christian anti-trinitarian bias – the work that Jacob published against the Christian "dialogues" of Czechowic. In the dedication to Andrzej Lasota, Czechowic states that "you are well acquainted with this Jew with whom this dispute is being held." Czechowic also mentions that "about seven years ago" they had disputed on the nature of Jesus Christ (ibid., 51) – hence about 1574 Jacob and Czechowic were already in contact. Elsewhere Czechowic mentions that "I talked to younot only through brother Marcin the tailor, but also through a Jew of Lublin, and I also informed you directly" (ibid., 58). It is clear, therefore, that Jacob and his polemical work actually existed and are not a figment of Czechowic's imagination, as some scholars have thought.
L. Szczucki, Marcin Czechowic (1964), index and 274–5, note 122, includes bibliography; J. Rosenthal, Marcin Czechowic and Jacob of Belzyce; Arian-Jewish Encounters in 16th Century Poland (1966; repr. from paajr, 34 (1966), 77–98).
[Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson]