Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver
Studies in Medieval Jewish Exegesis and Polemics. Frank Ephraim Talmage
B. D. Walfish (ed.)
463 p., 160 x 235 mm, 1999
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This volume gathers together the major essays of the late Frank Ephraim Talmage, who served as professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto until his death in 1988. Talmage's research interests emerged from his study of David Kimhi on whose family and intellectual world he became the leading authority. Talmage's study of Joseph Kimhi's biblical purism, newly translated for this volume, offers, for instance, a fresh look at the polemicist and exegete through the prism of grammatical works. Of the exegetical studies included in this volume, perhaps the best known is 'Apples of Gold', a wide-ranging exploration of the power of allegory in medieval Jewish thought that has proved a standard in its field. 'Trauma at Tortosa', another seminal, deeply-felt essay, analyzes Abraham Rimoch's commentary on the Book of Psalms in order to understand the exegete's state of mind and his psychological withdrawal in the wake of the disputation at Tortosa in 1413-1414, a painful event that led to mass conversions of Jews to Christianity. The polemical studies in the collection focus on Jewish-Christian relations in Spain, Provence and Bohemia. Several of these studies are here translated for the first time. Talmage was one of the few scholars to have worked on Bohemian Jewry, and his writings offer new insights into a fascinating Jewish community influenced by both Ahskenazi and Sephardic traditions, and a world in which popular religious sentiment and intellectual discourse were frequently at loggerheads. A bibliography of Talmage's writings and comprehensive indexes complete the volume.