A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble - Vol. 1

By Franz Kobler | Go to book overview

30
Maimon ben Joseph's Letter of Consolation

ABOUT the year 1158 Rabbi Maimon ben Joseph, member of the Rabbinical Court of Cordova, an eminent talmudist, astronomer and mathematician, accompanied by his daughter and two sons, Moses and David, arrived in Fez, the capital of Morocco. He and the members of his family were refugees from the bitter persecution to which in the middle of the twelfth century the Jews of Spain along with the Christians and dissident Moslems were subjected at the hands of the Almohades (Moslem Unitarians), the followers of Abdallah ibn Tumart. The whole peninsula having fallen under their sway, no other choice was left to those who did not leave the country but martyrdom or acceptance of Islam. Many Jews embraced Islam, at least in public, salving their consciences with the reflection that the strict monotheism of Ibn Tumart was after all not so far removed from Judaism. Maimon had tried to save himself and his family from this desperate alternative by wandering from Cordova hither and thither, and sailing at length to North Africa. The reason why he chose Fez, the centre of the power of the Almohades, as his abode is unknown, but it was just on this dangerous spot that he even raised his voice in order to strengthen the spirit of the afflicted Jews.

In 1160 he composed a letter in Arabic which, as he says in the introduction, he 'sent to one of his brethren that it might be a source of consolation for himself, and of delight for many souls which were perplexed on account of the sorrows of captivity...for day succeeded night, and night day, and still men were slain for their obedience to God and for their adherence to His law'. Maimon's 'Letter of Consolation' tries to heal the wounds of his people, to bring them comfort and confidence. Its language is subtly adopted to the perplexed spiritual outlook of those to whom it was addressed; the author did not hesitate to use Moslem terms, as for instance calling Abraham the Mahdi of God (an expression indicating the leader whose coming is expected by the Mohammedans), or speaking of Moses as the apostle. What Yellin and Abrahams have said about a special passage of the letter we may apply to the whole work: it is 'one of the finest expressions of tolerance which medieval literature can show'.

The following reproduction of the letter is a considerably abridged version of the original.

-166-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 328

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.