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When was the Sefer Nizzahon Yashan written? And this question leads me to another one: Does anyone know of any mention in Rishonim or acharonim about it (or about its author)?

The Sefer Nizzahon Yashan is an anonymous polemical work compiled in the second half of the thirteenth century (?) which is similar in many aspects to Sefer Yosef haMekanne, the Shevet Yehudah and the Vikuach HaRamban. This question occurred to me because in other registered disputes (e.g. in Disputation in Paris and Barcelona) seems to me have no mention of it.

  • I rolled back the changes to the question, as questions ought not be edited after answers have been posted. Rather, a new question should be posted. – mevaqesh Jan 19 '16 at 4:09
  • @mevaqesh This is the current policy on that meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/1231/759 and I'm not sure why it applies here. – Double AA Jan 19 '16 at 4:11
  • @DoubleAA Woops. you are right. Feel free to correct. – mevaqesh Jan 19 '16 at 4:23
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According to Wikipedia: Sefer Nizzahon Yashan (ספר ניצחון) "The (old) Book of Victory" is an anonymous 13th Century Jewish apologetic text originating in Germany. The name "old" (Hebrew yashan, Latin vetus) is attached to distinguish the work from Yom-Tov Lipmann-Muhlhausen of Prague's work of the same name, Sefer Nizzahon, written between 1401-1405.

It is mentioned by Rabbi Yosef Lieberman in Moriah[1] as originating in the time of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (13th-14th century).

It is also mentioned by Rabbi Yechezkel Solomon in Ohr Yisrael [2]. He does not mention its authorship.


[1] קסא - קסד, קלא - קמא; קסה - קסו, צב - צה

[2] מאנסי: ב, תשנ"ו, קלג - קמז

  • Thanks, @mevaqesh. I was just wondering the year it was written, sources or perhaps mentions of it in later literature. – Renato Grun Jan 19 '16 at 3:47
  • It seems like the exact year is unknown. Wikipedia dates it to the late 14th century, Hebrew Wikipedia to the early 14th. It is heavily referenced in non-Jewish literature if you are interested. – mevaqesh Jan 19 '16 at 3:50
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According to the listing from Wikipedia, it was written in the 13th century. It's author is unknown.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sefer_Nizzahon_Yashan

The claim is that based on style of language, it probably originated in Germany. From the time frame, it sounds like it followed on the heels of the notorious 'Disputation of Paris' which took place about the same time. There was a lot of communication between the Jewish communities of Paris and Wurms. Students studied in both locations at that time.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disputation_of_Paris

The consequence of the disputation was the burning of 24 wagonloads of handwritten Talmuds.

It is worth noting that the title ספר נצחון ישן (The Old Book of Victory) may be an anagram for ספר נצחון ישו נוצרי. (The Book of the Victory or Eternality of Jesus of Nazareth)

The content is strongly anti-Christian and appears to be based exclusively on the Tanach. This detail would be relevant in the context of the dispute of Paris that focused only on the Talmud because Christianity viewed Tanach as essential to their theology.

A critical edition translated into English can be found at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Christian-Debate-High-Middle-Ages/dp/1597405450

This would likely be the best place to search for any references among late Rishonim or Acharonim.

  • "There was a lot of communication between the Jewish communities of Paris and Wurms. Students studied in both locations at that time." source? – mevaqesh Jan 19 '16 at 4:12
  • @mevaqesh Seder HaDorot among many others. Jewish history books are filled with it. The Rishonim published by Artscroll (I think) has a very good discussion of the connections and interactions with all these communities. – Yaacov Deane Jan 19 '16 at 4:36
  • seforimcenter.com/… – Yaacov Deane Jan 19 '16 at 4:49

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