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1575 AZARIAH DE ROSSI (Italy)

Published his Me'or Einayim (Enlightenment to the Eyes). Written after surviving a strong earthquake in Ferrara, it was the first Jewish historical work to base itself on secular as well as Jewish sources, quoting over 100 secular authorities. De Rossi examined talmudic legends with a critical eye and believed that they were not written necessarily as an absolute historical truth. He delved deeply into the chronology of events, comparing Jewish and secular sources. Needless to say his book was controversial. It was severely criticized by Joseph Caro and Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague, among others, who believed in the unqualified truth of the talmudic legends. This led to a banning of the book which lasted more then 100 years.




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