Emeq ha-Bakha  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Emeq ha-Bakha (1558, The Vale of Tears) is a work by Joseph ben Joshua ben Meïr ha-Kohen.

It is a chronicle of items concerning persecutions of the Jews. To this he added material from Samuel Usque's Consolaçam as Tribulaçoens de Ysrael (1557), the chronicle of Abraham ibn Daud as well as other material that had reached him, calling it Emeq ha-Bakha (The Vale of Tears). Its set purpose in the introduction to the book was to serve as reading on the fast of 9 Av. There he dwells upon the sorrows and sufferings the Jews endured in various countries in the course of centuries. The book, which is a martyrology from beginning to end, closes with the 24th of Tammuz, 5335 AM (1575 CE). The tenor of the book makes it an out-spoken representative of "the lachrymose conception of Jewish history" (Salo Baron).

Joseph ha-Kohen finished the first version of this work in 1558, at Voltaggio. Another version was finished in 1563, a third version ca 1565, and the fourth and final version in 1575. It circulated in Italy in manuscript and was edited for the first time by Samuel David Luzzatto and published in 1852 by Max Letteris. In 1858 M. Wiener published a German translation. A modern text-critical edition, edited by Karin Almbladh, appeared in 1981.

Joseph ha-Kohen wrote also a Hebrew version, with the title Meqitz Nirdamim, of Meïr Alguadez's Spanish medical work giving prescriptions for the healing of various diseases; to these prescriptions he added some of his own.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Emeq ha-Bakha" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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