Skip to main content

Treves, Johanan ben Joseph


TREVES, JOHANAN BEN JOSEPH (1490?–1557?), Italian rabbi and scholar. His place of birth is unknown. In his youth he studied together with Joseph of Arles in the yeshivah of Moses *Navarro in Ferrara, where he later became a member of the bet din. For about 20 years he wandered in different towns of northern and central Italy, serving as religious instructor and rabbi, and as a result he was termed one of "the peripatetic rabbis." For a number of years during this period, he lived in the house of Ishmael Rieti in Siena as his private tutor, a practice common in Italy. He then lived in Sabbioneta and Bologna (1540). It was assumed that he worked in the Hebrew press in Bologna from 1537 to 1541; and it is possible that in the years 1545–46 he worked as a proofreader in the printing press of Daniel *Bomberg in Venice.

Johanan was an author, publisher, and writer of responsa. Widely known is his commentary, Kimḥa de-Avishuna (Bologna, 1540), on the festival prayer book according to the Roman rite, published anonymously. He endeavored to establish the correct readings "and did not invent anything; well nigh everything was gathered from existing authors … as the gleaner follows the harvester." The work was designed for the untutored, and its title is explained in the statement that "he was not concerned to produce fine flour but flour made from roasted ears [Kimḥa de-Avishuna; see Pes. 39b] … that had already been ground and roasted." His commentary is based almost entirely upon Midrashim, some of which are otherwise unknown, and upon commentaries on early piyyutim, his purpose being simply to explain the words and subject matter. He was extremely active as a proofreader of midrashic works and in the establishment of accurate readings of the tractates he studied with his pupils. His glosses to the Halakhot of Isaac *Alfasi, his approbations to the works of his contemporaries, and his responsa (one of which, no. 58, was included in the responsa of Moses *Isserles), are extant. He also compiled a commentary on the laws of *shehitah u-vedikah and the halakhot of *issur ve-hetter of the Mordekhai of *Mordecai b. Hillel (Venice, 1550). His piyyutim and poems are also known. Of his three sons the best known is Raphael Joseph who was a posek, as well as a book publisher. In 1559 he was working in the Sabbioneta press.


Ghirondi-Neppi, 167, 178–80; Bruell, Jahrbuecher, 1 (1874), 108; D.W. Amram, The Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 205; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 398; A. Marx, in: Tarbiz, 8 (1936/37), 173, 176; idem, Koveẓ Madda'i le-Zekher M. Schorr (1944), 189–219; I. Sonne, in: huca, 16 (1941), Heb. pt. 42, no. 11; H.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Italyah… (19562), 30, 65, 79.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Treves, Johanan ben Joseph." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 22 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Treves, Johanan ben Joseph." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (February 22, 2019).

"Treves, Johanan ben Joseph." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved February 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.