Early English Jewish literature

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English Jewish Literature:

(This page is part of the History of the Jews in England)

Effects of restrictions

The increasing degradation of the political status of the Jews in the thirteenth century is paralleled by the scantiness of their literary output as compared with that of the twelfth. In the earlier century they were visited by such eminent authorities as Abraham ibn Ezra, Judah Sir Leon of Paris, Yom Tov of Joigny, and Jacob of Orleans. A whole school of grammarians appears to have existed among them, including Moses ben Yom-ob, Moses ben Isaac, and Samuel ha-Nadan of Bristol. Berechiah ha-Nakdan produced in England his Fox Fables, one of the most remarkable literary productions of the Middle Ages.

Some early works of the 13th century

In the thirteenth century, however, only a few authorities, like Moses of London, Berechiah de Nicole, Aaron of Canterbury, and Elias of London, are known, together with Jacob ben Judah of London, author of a work on the ritual, Etz Chaim, and Meïr of Norwich, a liturgical poet. Throughout they were a branch of the French Jewry, speaking French and writing French glosses, and almost up to the eve of the expulsion they wrote French in ordinary correspondence.

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