Tuidela, Benjamin (Ben-jonah) of

Tuidela, Benjamin (Ben-Jonah) Of the famous Jewish traveler of the 12th century, is known for his researches on the state of the various colonies of the Hebrew people, both in the East and. in the West. From 1165 to 1173 he traveled in several countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and published his results in his Afassaoth, or Itinerariun, of Benjamin. Among Christians the book has not been favorably received. In the first place, the whole of its complexion is Jewish- recording in every place of his arrival the census, condition, and leading names of his nation; scarcely ever noticing the objects which usually invite the attention of Gentile travelers, such as customs, climate, language, politics, history, etc. In the second place, he commits numerous errors in dates: and names when he does refer to Gentile history; and, thirdly, the farther he advances from home, the more wonderful are his reports concerning the numbers and wealth of the Jews. These considerations have induced every one of his translators to believe that he never quitted Spain, but made a compilation of all the travelers tales he could gather respecting foreign lands. On the other hand, Gibbon (Decline, 5, 348, Milman's ed.) remarks, "The errors and fictions of the Jewish rabbi are not sufficient grounds to deny the reality of his travels." In our days, however, deeper investigation has certified the reality of the voyage, and the actual truth of many of its details, which are, however, mixed up with much that is fabulous, and accompanied by many incredible tales. This curious book of travels was edited, with a Latin translation, by Arias Montanus at Antwerp in 1622, and by L'Empereur at Leyden in 1633; with an English translation it was published in Purchase's Pilgrims (Loud. 1625, 2, 1437); by Harris, in Collection of Voyages and Travels (ibid. 1744-48), 1, 546-555; by Gerrons (ibid. 1784); by Pinkerton, in his Collection of Voyages and

Travels of the World (ibid. 1804-14), vol. 7; and in Bohn's Early Travels in Palestine (ibid. 1848, p. 63-126). The best edition is that of Asher, The Itinerary of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela (translated, etc.; vol. 1, bibliography and translation, Lond. and Berl. 1840; vol. 2, notes and essays, ibid. 1841). A French translation is given in Bergeron, Collection de Voyages, faits principalement en Asie, dans les XIIe, X1e, XI Ve, et XTVe Siecles (the Hague, 1735, 2 vols.); by Barratier (Amst. 1784, 2 vols.); another transl. appeared at Paris in 1830; a Dutch transl. by Bara (Amst. 1666); and a German transl. in Jewish characters by Arbich (Frankf. —on-the-M. 1711). "See Fürst, Bibl. Jud. 1, 117 sq.; De' Rossi, Dizionario Storico, p. 321 sq. (Germ. transl.); Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 6:214; Braunschweiger, Gesch. d. Juden in d. roman. Staaten, p. 154; Dessauer, Gesch. d. Israeliten, p. 289, 371-420; Jost, Gesch. d. Judenth. u. s. Sekten, 2, 54; 3, 363; Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, p. 617 (Taylor's transl.); Da Costa, Israel and the Gentiles, p. 283 sq.; Lindo, History of the Jews in Spain, p. 67; Finn, Sephardim, p. 210 sq.; Etheridge, Introduction to Hebrew Literature, p. 259; Adams, History of the Jews (Boston, 1812), 1, 238 sq. (B. P.)

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