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CURIOSITIES OF JUDAISM.
FACTS, OPINIONS, ANECDOTES, AND REMARKS
THE HEBREW NATION,
COMPILED AND COLLECTED BY
אלקטה נא ואספתי בעמרים אחרי הקוצרים
(רות ב" ז')
in the corners " ,בפאה ובבכורים I have simply gleaned
THE Title which I have assumed for this little book, bringing it, so far, in juxta-position with the worldrenowned work of the elder D’Israeli, might lead to the expectation of elaborate disquisitions and extended remarks on various subjects, which its nature would seem to include.
It is true that the field of research is extensive, fertile, and rich in its treasures; and will, no doubt, under younger and more vigorous labourings, yield ample and productive harvests. Herein, however, I , “ and among the first-ripe fruits,” content if I may have pointed out to others where plenteously to gather in the golden grain. Repeating the words of my prospectus, my readers will please to remember that this is a work of little pretension. It is simply a selection, with references to every original source ; “ it does not aspire to the dignity of history, nor even of a chronological arrangement." Still, it is hoped that it may be found amusing and interesting, and, in some degree, useful to those who wish to investigate Jewish affairs subsequent to Scriptural periods.
CURIOSITIES OF JUDAISM.
JEWISH SCHOOLS IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE.
Long before Poetry spread a brilliant éclat among the population of Southern France, a remarkable literary movement took place, although this was generally unknown, because it operated but indirectly among the branches of knowledge of the Middle Ages. We refer to the studies, and the philosophical works, which the Jews undertook with such great success, at this epoch, in the bosom of the schools which they had founded at Narbonne, at Lunel, at Saint-Gilles, and at other towns of the South.
A Spanish Jew, Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled from 1160 to 1173, to visit his co-religionists in various places, has transmitted several interesting details respecting these establishments and those who directed them. We shall supplement his account by what we gather from the writings of these celebrated rabbins themselves, but in this introduction we shall simply glance on the intellectual movement, and particularly on the schools and establishments which have favoured and advanced it, limiting ourselves here to a general view, but reserving for further remarks particulars of different men who have taken part in this movement.
Benjamin of Tudela relates, that after having admired at Montpellier the science and riches of a great number of Israelites, he visited, at Lunel, the celebrated university