Obadiah the Proselyte (priest)


Obadiah the Proselyte (priest)

Obadiah the Proselyte (born Johannes son of Dreux around 1070) was a Catholic priest who converted to Judaism in 1102 [Norman Golb, Obadiah the Proselyte: Scribe of a Unique Twelfth-Century Hebrew Manuscript Containing Lombardic Neumes, in The Journal of Religion, vol. 45 no. 2 (Apr., 1965) p. 155] . It was common practice for proselytes to choose the name "Obadiah" because of the tradition that Obadiah the prophet was an Edomite converted to Judaism.

The details of why he converted are not entirely clear. [ [http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0408/research/music.shtml University of Chicago magazine] ] It is believed he had been inspired by the Jewish people during the First Crusade and archbishop Andreas of Bari who had converted to Judaism. His understanding of the Bible may have also played a role. [ [http://www.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/920617_Obadiah.html University of Calgary] ]

He is known for recording medieval Jewish chant in Gregorian notation. [Norman Golb,Obadiah the Proselyte: Scribe of a Unique Twelfth-Century Hebrew Manuscript Containing Lombardic Neumes, in The Journal of Religion, vol. 45 no. 2 (Apr., 1965) pp.153-56.] There is a dispute whether this Gregorian melody used is of Jewish origin or of non-Jewish origin. [See Norman Golb, The Music of Obadiah the Proselyte and his Conversion, Journal of Jewish Studies, 18, 1-4 (1967) pp. 43-63 where he discusses the various theories and offers his own.]

References

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