Benjamin of Tudela - Encyclopedia


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BENJAMIN OF TUDELA (in Navarre), a Jewish rabbi of the 12th century. He visited Constantinople, Egypt, Assyria and 1 Jerusalem and its district was Jebusite until its capture by David (so 2 Sam. v.); for Beeroth and Gibeon, see 2 Sam. iv. 2 seq., xxi. 2, and note the Benjamite and Judahite names which find analogies in the Edomite genealogies. See, on these points, S. A. Cook, Jew. Quarterly Review (1906), pp. 528 sqq.

Persia, and penetrated to the frontiers of China. His journeys occupied him for about thirteen years. He was credulous, but his Itinerary, or Massa`oth, contains some curious notices of the countries he visited and of the condition of the Jews. Thus his work is of much value for the Jewish history of the 12th century. It is from Benjamin that we know that the Jews of Palestine and other parts of the East were noted for the arts of dyeing and glass-making.

His Itinerary was translated from the Hebrew into Latin by Arias Montanus in 1575, and appeared in a French version by Baratier in 1734. There have been various English translations. One was published by Asher in 1840; another (with critical Hebrew text) by M. N. Adler (Jewish Quarterly Review, vols. xvi.-xviii.; also reprinted as a separate volume, 1907).

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