I added a book to the pile of growing books that I tug around nearly every day of the week. This book, inspired by a professor's suggestion, is "Other Middle Ages: Witnesses at the Margins of Medieval Society" by Michael Goodich. I have to do a sort of semester project on a document or primary source that has to do with Jewish community. My fascination with conversion, specifically medieval conversion, is strong, and after mentioning this to the professor he told me to look up Ovadiah the Convert, whose writings were found in the Cairo Genizah (that's like a storage space for old documents). Shock and amazement came to me. After all the research I did on Herman the Jew, the Jewish apostate to Christianity in the early middle ages, I thought ... surely ... I had heard of every Jewishly connected medieval convert, right?
|Ovadiah's music notes!|
So stay tuned for more interesting tidbits on Ovadiah and what he means for medieval conversion. I will mention that there is a biblical Ovadiah, who is said (in the Talmud) to have been a convert from Edom. Thus, it supposedly was a thing in the middle ages to convert and call yourself Ovadiah in order to honor the convert Ovadiah in the Bible/Talmud.
The question is: Did all woman converts call themselves Ruth? Maybe Rahab? Again, stay tuned!
Related sidenote: Ovadiah (the convert) is the writer or copyist of the earliest surviving manuscript notations of Jewish music, including a eulogy to the biblical Moses ("Mi al har Horev?"), and the tunes are very ... well ... Gregorian. Fascinatin'! (Oh, and I mean the convert in the middle ages, in case you were thinking there were surviving musical tunes from the early days.)