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Joseph ben Ẓaddik


JOSEPH BEN ẒADDIK (late 15th century), rabbinic scholar and chronicler of Arévalo (central Spain). From 1467 to 1487 he was engaged in writing a compendium on ritual law, which he entitled Zekher Ẓaddik. The final chapter comprises a chronicle of significant events, with special emphasis on Jewish history, from the creation down to the author's own day; the last entry is dated 1487. This chapter was edited by Neubauer from the manuscript in the Bodleian Library. The contents agree to a considerable extent with the Sefer ha-Kabbalah of *Abraham b. Solomon of Torrutiel, which Baer attributes to their borrowing from common sources (see bibl.). Often faulty in its citation of names and dates, Joseph's chronicle contains a number of anachronisms and contradictions; thus, in one passage, Romulus is made a contemporary of David, with whom he allegedly signed a peace treaty, while elsewhere the date of the founding of Rome is placed more correctly in the time of Hezekiah, about 725 b.c.e. However, the chronicle does have some value for the Spanish period from the 11th to the 15th centuries, approximately from the time of *Ferdinand i to *Ferdinand and Isabella, since Joseph frequently cites non-Jewish sources and has a broader and more objective viewpoint than some of the later chroniclers, who were embittered by the final edict of expulsion in 1492.


Y.F. Baer, Untersuchungen ueber… Schebet Jehuda (1923), 26f.; F. Cantera Burgos, Libro de la Cabala (1928), 8f., 47–64 (annotated Spanish translation of chronicle covering events from 1015 on); Neubauer, Chronicles, 1 (1887 repr. 1965), xiv; Waxman, Literature, 2 (19602), 462f.

[Jacob Haberman]

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