The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: Travels in the Middle Ages

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9780911389098: The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: Travels in the Middle Ages

Benjamin of Tudela, Spain, a famous world traveler of the 12th century [1173 C.E.] is considered by some modern historians as giving the most accurate description of every-day life in the Middle Ages. Written originally in Hebrew, it was translated into Latin and later became an extremely popular piece of Jewish literature in many languages. The modern reader might regard it as an exotic tale. But the author actually intended to give his contemporaries a factual account of his travels.

What exactly did Benjamin plan to accomplish when he started out on his fantastic journey? At first, probably nothing but a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. which. despite the Crusades, retained a magic attraction for the pious Jew. A pilgrimage-an Aliyah-probably with the thought to stay there for the rest of his life. But the fact is that he did take the long road, stopping frequently, meeting people, visiting places, describing occupations and giving a demographic count of Jews in every town and country.

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Language Notes:

Text: English, Hebrew (translation)

Review:

More than 100 years before Marco Polo made and publicized his journey from Venice to the Far East, a Spanish Jew had traveled much the same route. Benjamin of Tudela covered even greater distances than Marco Polo in a I3-year odyssey that took him to every part of the then-known world and wrote an account of his voyages which to this day remains our best source of information about Jewish life in the Middle Ages.

The book he wrote is called Safer ha-Massaot (Book of Travels)-a lively report, written in an easy, fluent Hebrew, on the people and the places he had seen in the course of a grand tour from his native city (Tudela) in the province of Navarre to the four quarters of the globe.

A handsome, new edition of Benjamin's work (published by Joseph Simon) evokes the period and place in which he lived-12th century Spain, when Iberian Judaism was in its flowering-but discloses no more about the man himself than what appears in his own journal. There we learn only that he was born in Tudela, that his father's name was Jonah and that he made daily notes of everything he saw and heard. Like a good reporter of today, Benjamin not only told the facts; he also cited the sources of his information. -- Washington Jewish Week

We know a good deal about medieval Judaism, but comparatively little about medieval Jews. There was a golden age, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries; and we can appreciate its extraordinary intellectual and artistic achievements by reading the commentaries of Maimonides or Rashi and the poetic works (still a part of the ritual of Sefardic services) of Ibn Gabirol or Judah Halevi.

Now, the general public has access to the homely details of everyday existence in the period, as recorded by contemporaries. Benjamin's Itinerary is a kind of layman's treatise-Benjamin made no pretensions to being a scholarly expert-on the social and economic life of the Jewish communities in the dozen or so countries he visited by land.

Benjamin's comments on the...quandary in Lebanon, for example, predate the teleprompted remarks of your favorite anchorman by about 800 years. --Hadassah Magazine

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1.

Tudela, Benjamin Of; Signer, Michael A.; Adler, Marcus Nathan; & Asher, A. (introductions).
Editorial: NightinGale Resources, Cold Spring (2005)
ISBN 10: 0911389091 ISBN 13: 9780911389098
Nuevos Softcover Cantidad: 3
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Ad Infinitum Books
(Mount Vernon, NY, Estados Unidos de America)
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Descripción NightinGale Resources, Cold Spring, 2005. Softcover. Estado de conservación: New. Third printing.. 269 pages. Softcover. New Book. TRAVELS. "This is a book of travels composed by Rabbi Benjamin, son of Jonah, from the land of Navarre, may he rest in peace. This Rabbi Benjamin had left his native town of Tudela and traveled through many far countries, as is related in this book. In each place that he visited he wrote down things he had seen or learned from trustworthy people, things unknown in the land of Spain. He brought this book back with him on his return to Castile in the year 4933 of the Creation [1173 C.E.]."-from Medieval Preface. (Key Words: Benjamin of Tudela, Demography, Travel, Middle Ages, Maps, Jews, Judaica). book. Nº de ref. de la librería 19524X11

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Benjamin of Tudela
Editorial: NightinGale Resources (2004)
ISBN 10: 0911389091 ISBN 13: 9780911389098
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Descripción NightinGale Resources, 2004. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110911389091

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Benjamin of Tudela
Editorial: NightinGale Resources (2004)
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Descripción NightinGale Resources, 2004. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Brand New!. Nº de ref. de la librería VIB0911389091

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Benjamin of Tudela
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Descripción Estado de conservación: New. New. Nº de ref. de la librería S-0911389091

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Benjamin of Tudela
Editorial: NightinGale Resources (2004)
ISBN 10: 0911389091 ISBN 13: 9780911389098
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Descripción NightinGale Resources, 2004. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0911389091

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