Yechiel of Paris

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Yechiel of Paris
Diedc. 1268

Yechiel ben Joseph of Paris or Jehiel of Paris, called Sire Vives in French (Judeo-French: שיר ויויש‎) and Vivus Meldensis ("Vives of Meaux") in Latin,[1] was a major Talmudic scholar and Tosafist from northern France, father-in-law of Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil. He was a disciple of Rabbi Judah Messer Leon, and succeeded him in 1225 as head of the Yeshiva of Paris, which then boasted some 300 students; his best known student was Meir of Rothenburg. He is the author of many Tosafot.

Disputation of Paris[edit]

Yechiel of Paris is best known as the main defender of Judaism in the 1240 Disputation of Paris held at the court of Louis IX, where he argued against the convert Nicholas Donin. This was the first formal Christian-Jewish disputation held in medieval Christendom. In defence of accusations of slanderous quotes in the Talmud against the founder of Christianity, Yechiel argued that the references to Yeshu in fact refer to different individuals. Yechiel delineates them as Jesus himself, executed for sorcery (b. Sotah 47a), another "Yeshu haNotzri", also from Nazareth (b. Sanhedrin 107b), and a third "Yeshu" of the boiling excrement in b. Gittin 47a.[2] Berger (1998) writes: "Whatever one thinks of the sincerity of the multiple Jesus theory, R. Yehiel found a way to neutralize some dangerous rabbinic statements, and yet the essential Ashkenazic evaluation of Jesus remains even in the text of this disputation." Yechiel's argument was followed by Nachmanides at the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263[citation needed], but not by Profiat Duran at the Disputation of Tortosa in 1413–14.[3]

Although the disputants were believed by at least some to have successfully defended Judaism, a decree was passed for the public burning of all available manuscripts of the Talmud—and on Friday, June 17, 1244, twenty-four carriage loads of written works were set alight.

Disputed move to Acre[edit]

According to some sources, Yechiel arrived in Outremer around 1258 and settled in Acre, then ruled by the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, along with his son, Messire Delicieux (מישירא דילשיש) and a large group of followers.[4][5] He soon re-established the Great Academy of Paris (Midrash haGadol d'Paris)[6] and is believed to have died there between 1265 and 1268.[7] He was buried near Haifa, at Mount Carmel.[citation needed][clarification needed]

According to Simha Emanuel [he] however, he never emigrated and died in France,[8] where a fragment of a funeral stone has been found bearing the inscription,



לגן עד

(translated: Our master Yehiel to the Paradise), which could be from Rabbi Yechiel.[citation needed]


He was a tosafist. His tosafot are quoted as authoritative by Peretz ben Elijah[9] in "Kol Bo"[10] and in "Mordechai".[11] He is frequently quoted also in the edited tosafot.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gross, Heinrich (1897). Gallia Judaica (in French). Paris: L. Cerf. p. 341. LCCN 51050586.
  2. ^ Berger in Jewish history and Jewish memory: essays in honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi. ed. Elisheva Carlebach, John M. Efron - 1998 -p33 "Now, if his argument that the Jesus of the boiling excrement is not the Talmud's Jesus of Nazareth still stands, then R. Yehiel has not two Jesuses but three, two of whom came from Nazareth, and this is in fact strongly implied in the Christian response recorded in the Oxford manuscript of the Hebrew text and is explicitly stated in the Moscow manuscript."
  3. ^ Berger in Jewish history and Jewish memory: essays in honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi Elisheva Carlebach, John M. Efron - 1998 -p39 "This discussion makes it perfectly clear that Duran gave no credence to a theory of two Jesuses."
  4. ^ Jafi education Archived 2008-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Lookstein Bionotes
  6. ^ Jewish History Archived 2012-02-27 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Judaism
  8. ^ Emanuel, Simha (2008). Haker, Joseph (ed.). "ר' יחיאל מפריס: תולדותיו וזיקתו לארץ-ישראל". שלם / Shalem (in Hebrew). Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi. 8: 86–99.
  9. ^ Glosses to "Ammudei Golah," p. 50a, Cremona, 1556
  10. ^ Kol Bo, 114
  11. ^ Mordechai, Hullin, No. 924

 Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Jehiel Ben Joseph of Paris". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

External links[edit]