The fourth lecture in David’s overview series of Jewish history examines the years 1000 to 1500, known as the period of the Rishonim.
The talk explores the complex and sometimes contradictory experiences of different Jewish populations over these centuries, their lives and safety often dependent on their location, rulers, and the whim of history.
In discussing this period, David primarily focuses on:
- Feudal society
- Rashi’s project
- Ba’alei Tosafot
- The motivations, events, and impacts of the crusades
- The Inquisition
- Meir of Rothenberg
- The Rosh
- The Tur
- David Kimchi
- The Ralbag.
- The Golden Age of Spain – from the Moorish conquest to the Almohad Invasion
- Shlomo Ibn Gabirol and Yehudah HaLevi
- The Rif
- The Rambam
- The Christian reconquest
- The Ramban and the Barcelona Disputation (1263)
- Avraham Abulafia
- The revelation of the Zohar (1290).
- The first blood libel (1144)
- The massacre at York (1190)
- Raising the ransom for Richard 1 (1194)
- The first nationwide expulsion (1290).
Filled with stories of the many remarkable Jews whose lives and work have left indelible marks on history, David reveals this five-hundred-year period to have been as rich with innovation and contribution as it is with darkness.
This is the fourth part of David’s six-part series, an edited version of a live talk given in 2020 for Chabad South Africa and Daminyan Shule in Melbourne.