All posts by barkribus

Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el V: Conclusions

This is the fifth of a series of posts going back to a paper presented at the International Medieval Congress 2017. See https://africana.hypotheses.org/619 for the first post and an overview over the whole series.

Future Plans and Prospects

In two field trips conducted by the JewsEast project (December 2015, October 2017), the second of which was a proper archaeological survey, an attempt was made to locate Betä Ǝsra’el monastic sites. In both cases, the information collected prior to fieldwork indicated the general location of the monasteries, and informants encountered during fieldwork pinpointed the exact location of the sites. In both cases, remains of structures erected by the Betä Ǝsra’el, including synagogues, dwellings and probable monastic compounds, could still be seen and identified.

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Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el IV: Royal Lineages and Early Foundations

This is the fourth of a series of posts going back to a paper presented at the International Medieval Congress 2017. See https://africana.hypotheses.org/619 for the first post and an overview over the whole series.

Betä Ǝsra’el Royal Lineage as a Test Case

A possible indication that some Betä Ǝsra’el genealogies contain information which can be traced back to medieval times can be found in the incorporation of the names of Betä Ǝsra’el monarchs within them. The name which features most prominently is that of the Betä Ǝsra’el monarch Gedewon.[1] A Betä Ǝsra’el leader by that name plays a central role in accounts of wars against factions of the Betä Ǝsra’el waged by the Solomonic monarchs Śärṣä Dǝngǝl (1563-1597, Conti Rossini and Guidi 1807: 123, 170-171; Halévy 1907) and Susǝnyos (1607-1632, Kaplan 1992: 79-96; Pereira 1900: 116-118, 136, 209, 215-218, 387, 437, 441, 464, 553). However, mentions of a monarch bearing this name in Betä Ǝsra’el genealogies can arguably be considered generic: According to Betä Ǝsra’el tradition, prior to their conquest by the Solomonic Kingdom, they were ruled by a series of kings, all of which were named Gedewon (Ḥädanä Täqoyä 2011: 71-83).

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Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el III: Oral Sources

This is the third of a series of posts going back to a paper presented at the International Medieval Congress 2017. See https://africana.hypotheses.org/619 for the first post and an overview over the whole series.

Oral Sources and the Study of Betä Ǝsra’el History and Religious Life

The Betä Ǝsra’el cannot be considered an illiterate society. Betä Ǝsra’el clergy and religious scholars were required to learn to read as part of their education. While prayers were largely committed to memory and recited, texts, mainly holy books, were used (Kaplan 1992: 73-77). However, Betä Ǝsra’el historiography was, as we have seen, almost completely oral.

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Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el II: The “Gap” in the Sources

This is the second of a series of posts going back to a paper presented at the International Medieval Congress 2017. See here for the first post and an overview over the whole series.

Sources Relating to Betä Ǝsra’el Monasticism and the Chronological Gap of the Middle Ages

The vast majority of sources shedding light on Betä Ǝsra’el monasticism date to the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These include accounts written by the above-mentioned Christian missionaries and representatives of World Jewry, as well as a number accounts written by scholars who encountered Betä Ǝsra’el monks (d’Abbadie 1851-52; Leslau 1949). A number of studies deal with Betä Ǝsra’el monasticism, and incorporate within them information from both written sources and the Betä Ǝsra’el oral tradition (Ben-Dor 1985; 1987; Kaplan 1992; Quirin 1992; Shelemay 1989).

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Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el (Ethiopian Jewish) Monasticism

Shedding Light on Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el (Ethiopian Jewish) Monasticism:
An Examination of Sources and Suggestions for Future Study

 

This is the first of a series of posts going back to a paper presented at the International Medieval Congress 2017.

 

 

Introduction

One of the most intriguing aspects of Betä Ǝsra’el (Ethiopian Jewish) history and religious life is this community’s monastic movement. Betä Ǝsra’el monasticism is the only type of Jewish or Judaic monasticism known to have existed in medieval or modern times. It is a monastic movement in the full sense of the term: The monks were celibate, lived in monasteries, observed ascetic practices and dedicated their lives to the worship of God.

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Medieval Beta Israel Monasticism (Abstract)

Shedding Light on Medieval Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) Monasticism:

An Examination of Sources and Suggestions for Future Study

Bar Kribus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Supervisors: Prof. Steven Kaplan and Prof. Joseph Patrich

The Beta Israel monastic movement is the only Jewish / Judaized monastic movement known to have existed in medieval and modern times. Similar to their Christian counterparts, Beta Israel monks were celibate, observed ascetic practices and lived in monasteries. This movement was traditionally founded in the fifteenth century, and virtually ceased to exist in the second half of the twentieth century. Continue reading Medieval Beta Israel Monasticism (Abstract)