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BOURGES:

Capital of the department of Cher, France. From the beginning of the Middle Ages Jews dwelt in Bourges. It is recorded that in 568, and again in 624, attempts were made to convert them to Christianity ("Gallia Christiana," ii. 13, folio ed., 1716; "Vita Sulpicii," ii., ch. 3). After an interval of more than five centuries, during which little or no trace has been left of their presence in the city, it is chronicled that the French king, Philip Augustus, delivered over to Grand Master Matthew the house of the Jew Isaac Uradis at Bourges (Leopold Delisle, "Cat. des Actes de Philippe-Auguste," No. 121; "Hebr. Bibl." xx. 14). A short time afterward (1204), in a list of the Jews authorized to reside at Châtelet, near Paris, occurs the name of Benedictus Bituricensis, a native of Bourges, as his name implies (Delisle, ib. No. 890). Toward the end of the same century the Jews of Bourges had become somewhat numerous, judging from the many entries against their names on the royal tax-list (Lazard, in "Rev. Et. Juives," xv. [not xiv. as given by Gross, s.v.] 240, 246, 248, 258), and were in a prosperous condition.

A decree of Philip V. ("the Fair"), issued to the magistrates of the province Jan. 24, 1310, regulated the procedure for the recovery of debts due to Jews within the bailiwick of Bourges (Siméon Luce, "Cat. des Documents du Trésor de Chartres," in"Rev. Et. Juives," ii. 62) as follows: (1) Suit by a Jew for the recovery of a debt outstanding twenty years or more was prohibited, unless it was established that before the expulsion of the Jews legal steps had been taken for enforcing payment; (2) any record of payment was taken as proof of discharge of the debt; (3) the simple oath of a debtor attested by a single witness, was a sufficient answer before the court from a debtor to his creditor in all cases wherein the debtor was of good repute and the debt did not exceed ten pounds; (4) no Christian debtors of Jews were to be imprisoned if they were willing to mortgage their property for a sum equivalent to their debts; and lastly (5) magistrates were to deal leniently with debtors of Jews appealing from adverse decisions, and were to receive their appeals. We have no record of learned Jews at Bourges. Mention is made of a certain Tosafist (glossarist of the Talmud). (R. H. 24b), Elia b. Solomon of , which word may possibly be a mistake for , according to the reading of the "Ḳore ha-Dorot," folio 15b.

G. M. S.
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