Elijah of London

Students of medieval Anglo-Jewish history constantly find their attention arrested by the versatile and active personality of Magister Elias fil’ Magistri Mossei, or (as he was called in Hebrew) Rabbi Elijah Menahem ben Rabbi Moses, of London. He belonged to the most distinguished Anglo-Jewish family of the Middle Ages?the only one, indeed, that we are able to trace in England, generation by generation, throughout the two tragic centuries involved. His father and several of his brothers were also men of note in their day : and the family’s prominence continued with their children, down to the Expulsion of 1290. Magister Elias’s business and public activities can be followed step by step in the secular records, while Hebrew sources provide us with details of his literary productivity and his eminence as a Talmudical authority. We even have particulars of his domestic arrangements, his cuisine, and the style in which he lived.

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