Skip to main content

Zerahiah ben Isaac Ha-Levi


ZERAHIAH BEN ISAAC HA-LEVI (known as Ferrarius Saladi ; late 14th–early 15th century), rabbi of Saragossa and of all the communities of Aragon. A disciple of Ḥasdai *Crescas, he distinguished himself as a talmudist, preacher, physician, and translator, and was one of the leading Jewish participants in the disputation of *Tortosa. During his teacher's lifetime Zerahiah had already begun in his sermons to attack the rationalists who disagreed with R. Ḥasdai. While in Tortosa, he preached to the Jewish disputants in the synagogue. There is an account of this by Solomon ibn Verga: "The opening of his sermon was: 'the similar into the similar is healthy as is the opposite into the opposite' [a saying of Aristotelian origin], on which he delivered an excellent commentary [probably strongly anti-Christian] which can only be understood if heard directly. He completed his sermon with a prayer and supplication" (Shevet Yehudah, ed. by A. Shoḥat (1947), 97). During the disputation Zerahiah proved one of the most systematic, incisive, and trenchant of the debators. His comprehensive disquisitions there have been preserved in the Latin protocol of the disputation. This records that on March 16, 1414, Zerahiah presented the conclusions of the Jews on the dogmatic validity of the aggadot in which he concluded that the principles of the religion (articuli legis) come to the believer by way of faith and tradition alone and do not require any proof, whereas Scripture, as well as the teachings of the Talmud, have to be explained according to these principles; the Christians had also adopted this method. For the Jew, anticipation of the Messiah remains one of the fundamentals of his faith so long as the Jews continue in exile and without a king, and so long as many other conditions have not been fulfilled. Through this methodical and dogmatic approach, structured according to the system of Thomas Aquinas on the subject of the principles of faith, Zerahiah tried to remove the christological interpretation of talmudic aggadot from the Christian armory and to exclude the messianic principle of faith from the discussion.


Baer, Spain, index; A. Pacios Lopez, La disputa de Tortosa, 2 (1957), index; He-Ḥalutz, 7 (1865), 96–101, 118–9.

[Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson]

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

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Zerahiah ben Isaac Ha-Levi." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 25 May. 2019 <>.

"Zerahiah ben Isaac Ha-Levi." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (May 25, 2019).

"Zerahiah ben Isaac Ha-Levi." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved May 25, 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.