Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Troyes de Champagne - the jewish link

Rashi - source
A Hebrew school of great importance, directed by the highest rabbinical authorities and attended by numerous students from various lands, especially Germany and France, flourished at Troyes in the twelfth century. Several synods whose ordinances were adopted in foreign countries assembled at Troyes about 1160.

Among the most noted scholars of the city were jewish scolars of which Rashi is the best known. The name Rashi was an acronym from his full name RAbbi SHlomo Itzhaki. Rashi (February 22, 1040 – July 13, 1104), was a medieval French rabbi and long highly esteemed as a major contribution Ashkenazi Jewry gave to Torah study. Rashi lived during the reigns of two local noblemen: Thibaud I who took part in the Norman invasion of England in 1066 and Hughes I, the first Earl of Champagne, well known protector of  the Cistercian reform of the Benedictine Order and of the Order of the Knights Templar.

The Jews also depended on the protection of the Earls and their quarter stood in the shadow of the chateau. They were regarded an important source of revenue, because they owned vineyards and other real estate. Therefore effort was taken to safeguard and sustain this source of income. At the end of the twelfth century and at the beginning of the thirteenth the Earls of Champagne and the King of France entered into an agreement by which the contracting parties bound themselves to surrender to each other all Jews who should quit the domains of the one and settle in the territories of the other. In 1204 all rights over the Jews who settled in Ervy were waived by the Seigneur d'Ervy in favor of Countess Blanche of Troyes; and in 1222 Thibaud, Count of Champagne, acknowledged the receipt for 160 livres given by the Jews of the city to Jacob, "Master of the Jews of Troyes."

page of The Stephan Harding Bible - source
The Jewish scolars were also highly regarded on matters of the old Hebrew books and consulted by local christian scolars. The Benedctine Siegbert of Gembloux, teaching at Metz about 1070, consulted with Jewish scholars with a view to establishing a more authentic text for his Latin translation of the Septuagint. The Cistercian Nicholas Maniacoria of Trois-Fontaines (Champagne region), although a Hebraist, likewise consulted the rabbis. He produced his own revision of the Bible based on the Paris text (although the original is lost), with the program of removing additions (especially from the Old Testament) and restoring original readings and arbitrarily deleted texts. In his Libe/us de corruptione et correptione Psalmorum, written about 1145, he also questions the principle that the longer text is automatically better.

Stephen Harding, first abbot of Citeaux and as such founder of the Cistercian order, made the first revision of the Cistercian Breviary in an attempt to clean up corruptions that had crept into Medieval chant. He also produced a new translation of the Vulgate by consulting the most ancient texts available and by conferring with rabbis on the trickier points of some Hebrew passages. The Stephen Harding Bible is considered a treasure of illumination and shows the workmanship that made the scriptorium of Citeaux famous in its early days before complex illumination was curtailed under the influence of Bernard de Clairvaux.


sources jewishencyclopedia.com, jewishmag.com, nunraw.blogspot.fr and wikipedia.org

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