Jewish Names > Germany and France, 10th-13th Centuries > Authors' Names

The form authors of Hebrew chronicles used when writing their own names differs from how they referred to other individuals. For one thing, though they would usually use a title when referring to others, they would not place a title before their own names. They might further display their humility by describing themselves as "young" or "small."

Some of these names are found by reading the first letters of successive lines of a poem. Such acrostics are an important feature of Hebrew poetry. (Often the poem would devote one or more lines to each letter of the alphabet before using the final lines for a name or message.)

Authors' Names Appearing in Prose

(Mainz, Germany, 11th-12th cent.)
Shlomo b[en] R[eb] Shimon

(Germany, 12th century)
Efrayim ben Yaakov Yelivah = Efrayim haTzair ben R[eb] Yaakov haYasom Yelivah
i.e., "The youth Efrayim son of Reb Yaakov, [known as] the orphan Yelivah." The author was at least 39 when he wrote this.

(France, 12th century)
Baruch ben R[eb] Meir

(Mainz, Germany; 1165-1238)
Elazar haKatan = Elazar haKatan v'heAluv

Authors' Names Appearing Acrostically in Poems

(France and Germany, 10th-11th c.)
Gershom b[en] R[eb] Yehudah [He is known to posterity as Rabbenu Gershom "Me'or HaGolah."]

(Germany, 1096)
Kalonymos bar Rabbi Yehudah
David b[en Ra]bbi Meshulam haKatan
Eliezer b[en] R[eb] Nasan
Yosef b[en] R[eb] Nasan

(Germany, 11th-12th c.)
Shlomo b[en] R[eb] Shimshon

(Germany, 12th c.)
Efrayim b[en] Yitzchak
Yoel b[en] Rabbi Yitzchak
Hillel b[en] Yaakov

(Worms, Germany, late 12th c.)
Menachem b[en] Rabbi Yaakov

(Chartres, France, late 12th c.)

Ye[h]udah b[en] Rabbi Kalonymos

(Germany, 12th-13th c.)
Avraham b[en] R[eb] Meir

(13th c.)
Mordechai b[en] Rabbi Eliezer
Yechiel b[en] Rabbi Yaakov

(Germany, 13th c.)
Shmuel b[en] Rabbi Avraham haLevi
Meir b[en] Rabbi Baruch (another author refers to him as "Moreinu haRav R. Meir miRotenburk b[en] R[eb] Baruch")
Mordechai b[en] R[eb] Hillel
Moshe b[en] R[eb] Yaakov
Yakar haLevi heAluv ben R[eb] Shmuel
Mordechai b[en] R[eb] Yosef
Chayim b[en] Rav Machir

(Troyes, France, 1288)
Yaakov bar Rabbi Yehudah (another author refers to him as R[eb] Yaakov b[en] haR[av] Yehudah miYelutra)
Shlomo Simchah [Simchah is probably his father's name]

(Germany, 13th-14th c.)
Yehoshua ben Rabbi Menachem

Julie Stampnitzky,