Yom-Tov Lipmann-Muhlhausen

Yom-Tov ben Solomon Lipmann-Muhlhausen (Hebrew: יום טוב ליפמן מילהאוזן) was an Jewish-Austrian controversialist, Talmudist, and kabalist of the 14th and 15th centuries.

According to Bishop Bodecker of Brandenburg, who wrote a refutation of Lipmann's "Niẓẓaḥon," Lipmann lived at Cracow. But Naphtali Hirsch Treves, in the introduction to his "Siddur," calls him "Lipmann-Mülhausen of Prague", adding that he lived in the part of the town called "Wyschigrod." Manuscript No. 223 in the Halberstam collection contains a document issued at Prague in 1413 and signed by Lipmann-Mülhausen, as dayyan.

His Attainments

It is seen from his "Niẓẓaḥon" that, besides his rabbinical studies, Lipmann occupied himself with the study of the Bible, that he was acquainted with Karaite literature, that he read the New Testament, and that he knew Latin. His authority in rabbinical matters is shown by his circular to the rabbis warning them against the use of any shofar not made of a ram's horn (comp. S.D. Luzzatto in "Kerem Ḥemed," vii. 56). There are also responsa addressed to him by Jacob ben Moses Mölln (A. Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 907, 5), and Israel Isserlein mentions him ("Terumat ha-Deshen," No. 24) as one of five scholars who met at Erfurt. In 1399 (Aug. 16) Lipmann and many other Jews were thrown into prison at the instigation of a converted Jew named Peter, who accused them of insulting Christianity in their works. Lipmann was ordered to justify himself, but while he brilliantly refuted Peter's accusations, as a result of the charges 77 Jews were martyred on Aug. 22, 1400, and three more, by fire, on Sept. 11, 1400. Of the accused Lipmann alone escaped death.

His Works

Lipmann was the author of:
* "Sefer ha-Niẓẓaḥon," a refutation of Christianity and Karaism and a demonstration of the superiority of rabbinical Judaism
* "Zikron Sefer ha-Niẓẓaḥon" a refutation of Christianity, an abstract in verse of the preceding work (pp. 107-117 in the "Tela Ignea Satanæ" of Wagenseil, who supplied a Latin language translation and added a long refutation, Freiburg, 1681; A. Geiger, in Bresslauer's "Deutscher Volkskalender," iii. 48, declares Lipmann's authorship of this poem doubtful)
* a commentary to the "Shir ha-Yiẓud" (Freiburg, 1560).
* In Samson ben Eleazar's "Baruk she-Amar" (Shklov, 1804) there is a kabalistic treatise on the Hebrew alphabet, entitled "Sefer Alfa Beta," the author of which is given as מהר"ל שלי"ו. S. Sachs and Steinschneider concluded that the author was Lipmann-Mülhausen. This work discusses:
# the form of the letters
# the reason for their form
# the mystery of their composition, order, and numerical value
# the kabalistic explanation of their form. In this work the author frequently mentions a cabalistic work entitled "Sefer ha-Eshkol" and a commentary to the "Sefer Yeẓirah."
* Menahem Ẓiyyoni's "Ẓefune Ẓiyyoni" is ascribed, in a pamphlet quoted by Reuben Hoshke (Yalḳ., Reubeni, section "Naso"), to a certain R. Ṭabyomi, whom Steinschneider ("Cat. Bodl." col. 1411) identifies with Lipmann-Mülhausen.
* Lipmann promises, in his "Niẓẓaḥon" (§ 197), a commentary to Pirḳe Abot, but such a work is not extant.
* Finally, it may be added that Manuscript 820 in Oppenheimer's collection was supposed to be a Biblical commentary by the author of the "Sefer ha-Niẓẓaḥon," but Dukes ("Orient, Lit." xi. 299) declares that it is nothing else than the "Niẓẓaḥon" itself.

Contents of the "Niẓẓaḥon"

Lipmann's reputation is dependent, mainly, upon his "Niẓẓaḥon" (ספר ניצחון). That a rabbi in the 15th century should occupy himself with the Latin language and the New Testament was certainly a rare thing. Lipmann was compelled to justify himself (§ 3) by referring to the saying of Rabbi Eliezer, "Know what thou shalt answer to the heretic" (Abot ii. 14). The whole work consists of 354 paragraphs, the number of days in the lunar year, each paragraph, with the exception of the last eight, beginning with a passage of the Bible, upon which the author founds his argument. Thus his arguments rest upon 346 passages taken from all the books of the Old Testament. The last eight paragraphs contain his dispute with the convert Peter. In the introduction Lipmann says that he divided the work into seven parts to represent the seven days of the week. The part for the first day contains the arguments against Christians; that for the second day those against the Karaite interpretation of the Bible; those for the remaining five days contain severally interpretations of obscure Biblical passages that are likely to mislead students; the reasons for the commandments; arguments against atheists; arguments against the Karaites and their rejection of the Talmud; and an account of the sixteen things which comprehend the whole of Judaism and which, after being indicated in the Pentateuch, are repeated in the Prophets and Hagiographa.

Translations and Refutations

Very characteristic is Lipmann's refutation of the assumed miraculous birth of Jesus, as well as his demonstration of the falsity of the conclusions of the Christians who claim that the birth of Jesus was foretold by the Prophets. He constantly quotes Maimonides, Ibn Ezra, Naḥmanides, Saadia, Rashi, Shemariah of Negropont, and other ancient scholars. Lipmann must have written his "Sefer ha-Niẓẓaḥon" before 1410, for he expressed a hope that the Messiah would arrive in that year (§ 335). It was first published by Hackspan (Altdorf, 1644), who with great difficulty obtained the manuscript from the rabbi of Schneittach. Wagenseil published, at the end of his "Sota" (Altdorf-Nuremberg, 1674), corrections of Hackspan's edition under the title of "Correctiones Lipmannianæ."

Later, the "Niẓẓaḥon" was reprinted, with the addition of Ḳimḥi's "Vikkuaḥ," in Amsterdam (1709 and 1711) and Königsberg (1847). Sebald Snelle published the Hebrew text with a Latin language translation and refutation of the paragraph (§ 8) denying the miraculous birth of Jesus (Altdorf, 1643), and at various dates he published Latin translations of the paragraphs directed against Christianity. A Latin translation of the whole work, with the exception of the passages taken from the Pentateuch, was made by John Heinrich Blendinger (Altdorf, 1645). As will be readily understood, the work gave rise to many polemics and called forth replies from Christians. The first was Stephen Bodecker, Bishop of Brandenburg, a younger contemporary of Lipmann, who wrote a refutation of the "Niẓẓaḥon" (comp. Wolf, "Bibl. Hebr." i. 736). The following other refutations are published: Wilhelm Schickard, "Triumphator Vapulanssive Refutatio," etc. (Tübingen, 1629); Stephen Gerlow, "Disputatio Contra Lipmanni Nizzachon" (Königsberg, 1647); Christian Schotan, "Anti-Lipmanniana" (Franeker, 1659), giving also the Hebrew text of the "Niẓẓaḥon."

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography

*Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 443;
*Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 403;
*Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., viii. 71-72;
* S. Sachs, in Kerem Ḥemed, viii. 206 et seq.;
*Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 1410-1414;
*idem, Jewish Literature, pp. 113, 129, 145;
*Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. i., iii., No. 1364;
*Zunz, Z. G. pp. 124, 129, 194, 380.

References

*JewishEncyclopedia

External links

* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=443&letter=L Jewish Encyclopedia article on Yom-Tov Lipmann-Muhlhausen] , by Gotthard Deutsch and M. Seligsohn.


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