Letter: T-S 20.97

Letter T-S 20.97


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In PGP since 2020


Copy of a long letter sent by Ḥananya b. Yosef ha-Kohen, Av Bet Din. Dating: ca. 1020 CE, according to Gil. Probably addressed to the community in Fustat. Mentions Tiberias and a ban of excommunication on the Mount of Olives. The writer excuses his delay in responding to the previous letter, as he was suffering a severe relapse of his illness at the time that he received it. Gil summarizes the contents of the letter as follows: "At the beginning of the eleventh century, Geniza letters definitely disclose that Tiberias is no longer the seat of the yeshiva. The av-bet-din of the yeshiva, Ḥananya ha-Kohen b. Yosef, mentions in his letter the serious differences within the Tiberias community and the yeshiva’s intervention. It appears that Ḥananya's brother served as judge in Tiberias, and when he died, the people of Tiberias asked the yeshiva to send them someone to take his place. Someone was indeed sent, after a group of Tiberian notables promised they would treat him well, but that person apparently tried to discard the authority ofJerusalem, and even took the liberty of proclaiming leap years(!), whereupon the Gaon and the yeshiva excommunicated him. Nevertheless, he continued to do as he saw fit and even organized a faction of supporters, and it seems that they also took for themselves the revenue from the ritual slaughtering that was intended for Jerusalem. [Two brothers in Fustat were apparently helping him.] It does appear, then, that there was some sort of rebellion in Tiberias which tried to re-establish the old order." On the biography of Ḥananya ha-Kohen Av Bet Din, see Gil, History of Palestine, section 854 (pp. 664–65). And see ENA 4009.4 (a letter addressed to him from Sicily) and Moss. Ia,9 (a document drawn up in his court, dated 1007 CE). (Information from Gil and CUDL.)

T-S 20.97 1r




T-S 20.97 1v

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