The Responsa of Rabbi Joseph ibn Leb : a study in the religious, social and economic conditions of the Jewish communities within the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth - seventeenth centuries.
This Thesis combines a detailed study of the Responsa
of Rabbi Joseph ibn Leb with researches into contemporary and
later standard works dealing with the Ottoman Empire of the
XVIth. - XVIIth. centuries. The analytical study of Responsa
in the light of such works, particularly of recent scholarly
investigations into the Mühimme Defterleri, the Defter-i Haaani
and other official registers of the Turkish State archives
has not hitherto been undertaken.
An account of the diverse origins of Ottoman Jewry
is followed by a biography of Rabbi Joseph ibn Leb. A study of
communal organisation includes the subjects of communal
leadership, lay and clerical, educational facilities, the
Hascamah, ex-communication, inter-Congregational relationships,
sources of communal revenue, and social welfare organisation.
This leads to a consideration of Halachic practice and of
social life, housing, dress, slave-ownership and health
In external relationships I have dealt with disabilities
consequent on the status of Jews as dhimmis, the Blood Libel and
Ritual Murder accusation, djerime, taxation, the Kira, relations
with the Ottoman judicature, and with the ruling authority.
The chapter on economic conditions includes a list of
Jewish occupations occurring in the Responsa, trading and
business practice, and an account on Ottoman currency. On real
estate the Hascamah I have called the "Three-Year Post-
Occupational Hazakah" is considered, and the diverse types of
Ottoman land-tenure such as Mulk, Wakf, such rights of
occupation as LIoukütala, and the claim of Bar-Ni tzra.
The subjects of marriage and divorce include material
on customs, the status of the minor, agency, polygamy, and
levirate marriage. Palestinian settlement is discussed, and
appendices include the identification of place-names and
Turkish terms in the Responsa, and the possible impact of
Turkish institutions on Jewish life.
Throughout this Thesis the systematic collation of
Resnona material with the external sources above-mentioned
and their mutual elucidation have been attempted.