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8 While the city of Venicedid not issue a charterlegalizing the residencyof Jews until 1513,9and only in 1541 grantedJewish merchants(who were Ottomansubjects)the rightto reside in the citta lagunare,10the Jewish communitiesof Cretehad roots going back to Byzantinetimes. Moreover,they activelyparticipatedin the regionaltradethatwas not consideredthe exclusive domainof Venetiancitizens. 11 Although Capsali'sinterestin Ottomanaffairs was certainlya result of his living in one of the majorport cities throughwhich flowed much of the Levant trade,the multiculturalatmosphereof a commercialhub does not fully explainwhy he wrote Seder 'EliyahuZuta.

BernhardCoopermanand BarbaraGarvin (Maryland:Universityof MarylandPress, 2000), 151-92 (reprintin idem, Studies on the Jews of Venice,ch. 9). 20. See Capsali'saccountin SippureVenezia,SEZ, 2:284-5; cf. n. 9. 37 Martin Jacobs footsteps of his father. "Unlike his elder relative,Elijah Delmedigo (c. But whatbenefit could a pious Jew be expected to derive 21. SEZ, ch. 165, 2:107; see Benayahu,Qapsali, 121. 22. SEZ, ch. 166, 2:109. 23. The closest parallelis Boccaccio, who linkedthe compositionof his Decameronto the Florentineplague of 1348 (althoughhe was out of town at this time); see GiovanniBoccaccio, Decameron, Filocolo, Ameto,Fiammetta,ed.

Fraade,"InterpretingMidrashI: Midrashand the History of Judaism,"Prooftexts 7 (1987): 179-94; and S. Fraade,FromTraditionto Commentary. 37Rabbinicdisciples, in theirquest to benefit from the religiously transformativepower of rabbinic learning, aligned themselves with rabbinicmasters,from whom they learnedto masterthe complex substance,thoughtand processes of rabbinicoral discourse. Of fundamentalimportancein this relationshipwas the ability of the disciple to declaim rabbinictradition from memory, in both a homiletical and extemporaneouslydialogical setting.

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