Brill USA Now in English translation, this critical edition of historical writings by Joseph of Rosheim, sixteenth-century leader of German Jewry, provides important information about the situation of the Jews in the early modern Holy Roman Empire as well as fascinating insights into Christian-Jewish relations in the Reformation period.
Blackwell North Amer Joseph of Rosheim, sixteenth-century leader of the Jews in the Holy Roman Empire, left historical writings that are presented here in a critical edition published now for the first time in English translation. The principal part of the book is devoted to a Hebrew manuscript - a chronicle - left by R. Joseph, in which he describes incidents from the history of his life and that of the Jews in his day and age. R. Joseph writes with extreme terseness, often in cryptic language, and therefore his chronicle appears here with prefaces, background information and a commentary. The prefaces provide important information about the blood libels and the expulsions, the debate concerning Solomon Molcho's messianic ideas, and the influence R. Joseph exerted at the court of Emperor Charles V. Particularly valuable for the study of Christian-Jewish relations in the Reformation period are two other documents printed here. The "Letter of Consolation," is a long epistle that R. Joseph wrote to the Jews of Hesse in 1541, advising them on how to cope with the harsh decrees enacted against them and discussing the attitudes of some leading Reformers towards the Jews. Also included in the book is his Letter to Strasbourg City Council of July 1543, which contains his response to Martin Luther's anti-Jewish tracts. This book can be considered a sequel to the critical edition (in Hebrew) of R. Joseph's large work, Sefer ha-Miknah, which Chava Fraenkel-Goldschmidt published in 1970.