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Leadership and ConflictTensions in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History and Culture$
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Marc Saperstein

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764494

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764494.001.0001

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The Conflict over the Ban on Philosophical Study, 1305: A Political Perspective

The Conflict over the Ban on Philosophical Study, 1305: A Political Perspective

(p.94) Chapter Four The Conflict over the Ban on Philosophical Study, 1305: A Political Perspective
Leadership and Conflict

Marc Saperstein

Liverpool University Press

This chapter suggests a new framework in which to evaluate certain significant events in 1305. Few events of internal Jewish history during the Middle Ages more effectively exemplify diversity and conflict than the so-called ‘Maimonidean conflicts’ — the attempts by certain Jews to control the educational curriculum and public discourse of their communities by banning various philosophical texts and those who taught or studied them. One of the best-known of these episodes, the ban restricting the study of Greek philosophy, promulgated during the summer of 1305 by Solomon ben Adret (Rashba) and his colleagues in Barcelona, has been extensively treated by historians for over a century. The bitter conflict surrounding this ban is extensively documented in Minḥat kena'ot (A Zealous Offering), a collection of letters edited by Abba Mari of Lunel, one of the protagonists of that conflict and an ally of Ben Adret. Yet there is still no consensus among scholars about the proper interpretation of this dramatic episode, and sharp disagreement remains over what was fuelling the antagonism.

Keywords:   Maimonidean conflicts, philosophical texts, bans, Greek philosophy, Solomon ben Adret, Rashba, Barcelona

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