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SENLIS (Hebrew, ; Latin, "Silvanectum," "Silvanectis," "Silvanectæ"):

Chief town of an arrondissement of the department of the Oise, France, and a noted health and pleasure resort. It possessed Jewish inhabitants apparently as early as the twelfth century; for Odon, Bishop of Cambrai from 1105 to 1113, says in the preface to his work on the incarnation that while passing through Senlis on his way to the Council of Poitiers, in 1106, he became involved in a religious controversy with a Jew named Leon (= Judah), who sought him at his inn to debate with him, the disputation being reduced to writing by the bishop. The story, even were it fictitious in itself, would nevertheless serve, according to Israel Lévi (in "R. E. J." v. 245), to prove that Jews resided in the city at the period which is in question.

The records of the taxes paid by the Jews in 1202 and from 1298 to 1300 include contributions from those in Senlis, who must, to judge from the large amounts paid by them, have been either very numerous or very rich. According to Delisle, Banditus de Silvanectis (Senlis) was one of the Jews who were permitted in 1204 to reside in the Châtelet of Paris. In 1225 Guérin, Bishop of Senlis, issued a decree annulling all debts which had been contracted with the Jews of his diocese within the preceding four years, excepting such as were acknowledged, thus seeking to deprive the Jews of their wealth. Joucet of Pontoise, who "belonged" to Charles, Count of Anjou, by all agreement which the latter made in April, 1296, with his brother, King Philip IV., was a sort of agent for the Jews, and paid the royal officials the sum total of the taxes levied on the bailiwick of Senlis.

The bishops of Sens and Senlis were among the ecclesiastical dignitaries who attended the controversy held at the court of Louis IX. at Paris in 1240 between Nicholas Donin of La Rochelle and the four rabbis, Jehiel, head of the school of Paris, Judah ben David of Melun, Samuel ben Solomon of Château-Thierry or of Falaise, and Moses of Coucy.

Bibliography:
  • R. E. J. v.-245; xv. 234, 240;
  • Delisle, Catalogue des Actes de Philippe-Auguste, Paris, 1856;
  • Beugnot, Les Juifs de l'Occident, i. 90, Paris, 1824;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 440-660;
  • Disputation of Jehiel, ed. Thorn, p. 16, 1873.
S. J. Ka.
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