Historie – Otázky – Problémy

To honour the Forefathers, to remind the Descendants. Takkanot Candia – a collection of communal legislation as a witness of an important epoch in the history of the Jewish Community in Crete


Abstract: This study aims to present the collection of Takkanot Candia in its double role, both as a unique historical source regarding principally the history of everyday life in the Jewish community of Crete in the Venetian period (13th–16th centuries) and as a work of literature which provides us with an insight into the communal politics and inner dynamics of life in a Mediterranean Jewish community in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Takkanot Candia is noteworthy as one of the best preserved specimens of the takkanotkahal genre, whose position in the complex of pre-Emancipation Jewish legal literature is rather specific. This is caused by its independence of the discourse of Halakhic literature, since takkanotkahal do not derive their authority from Jewish canonical texts, but rather from the authority of the communal leaders who issue them. The significance of Takkanot Candia as a work of literature, which was put together thanks to Renaissance-era redaction of the historian Elijah Capsali (ca 1485–ca 1550) consists mainly in the authentic picture it presents of the inner fabric of the Candia Jewish community and a self-reflection of Jewish communal elites on whose shoulders the responsibility for the community’s functioning rested. Study of this text could be a welcome contribution to a more complex understanding of Jewish self-government in the times of important social changes as the Middle Ages shifted towards the beginning of the Modern Era.

Keywords: Takkanot Candia; Elijah Capsali; Jewish communal legislative; Crete; Venetian Republic

PhDr. Martin Borýsek, MSt., absolvoval obor hebraistika a latina na Filozofické fakultě Univerzity Karlovy v Praze a studium židovsko-křesťanských vztahů na Woolfově Institutu pro studium abrahámovských náboženství na Univerzitě v Cambridge. V současné době studuje v doktorském programu na teologické fakultě v Cambridge a připravuje disertační práci, zabývající se literárními aspekty souboru Takanot Kandia ( mb770@cam.ac.uk).