Page 190 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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182
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Relatively, Zunz devoted much space to the traveller Eshtori
ben Moses ha-Parhi of Provence. He wrote of him that he was
a well-educated man, and, following the expulsion of the Jews
from France in 1306, he settled in Barcelona, from where he
travelled to Egypt and Palestine, settling in the Beth-Shean val­
ley. He praised its fertile soil and salubrious climate. He wrote
about it that it was situated on rich water resources. “It is a
rich, blessed, beautiful land, bearing fruit like God’s garden.”
He further mentioned the Kishon which, “not far from the Ta­
bor flows into the Jo rdan .” He devoted many descriptions to
various other localities: Galilee, Ramie, Beer-Sheva, Jerusalem,
indicating quite exactly the distances from place to place.
(Gesammelte Schriften
I, p. 170-173; see also “Ausziige aus Kaftor
Vaferach,”
Gesammelte Schriften
II, pp. 288ff.)
On the other hand, Zunz had but little to say about the 19th
century Shlomo Lowisohn’s excellent First Biblical Geography
in Hebrew, which appeared in print in 1819, and was published
also in German translation.
(Ibid.,
I, pp. 197-198) — the
Mehkerei
Aretz.
O f course this may be explained as a result of the fact
that
Mehkerei Aretz
was a book on biblical geography, but not
a book of actual travels. There may also have been another
reason, the strongly “nationalist” character of the work and the
deep longing for national restoration that permeated it. [It
should be noted that Zunz erred with his statement that
Lowisohn was not yet 25 years old when he died in Vienna.
(Ibid., ibid.).
Professor Joseph Klausner corrected it in vol. I of
his
Historiyah shel ha-Sifrut ha-Ivrit ha-Hadashah,
I (Jerusalem,
1930), pp. 232-233.]
In conclusion, we shall adduce additional data from Zunz,
concerning some episodes of recent times. Thus:
When Abraham of Basel, who, as a collaborator in the Buxtorf
edition o f the Rabbinic Bible, was, as an exception, suffered [to
stay there], when he celebrated, in the summer o f 1619 a cir­
cumcision, Buxtorf and his son-in-law Konig, each had to pay
a penalty o f a hundred Gulden, just for having been present,
and Abraham — [a penalty of] 400 Gulden.
For many practical purposes Judaism was almost becoming
a
religio illicita
in the Counter-Reformation period when
Christian-Jewish relations were frowned upon by the Church.
Hence, to avoid harassment from the authorities, the members