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NOVGOROD:

One of the oldest of Russian cities, on the River Volkhoff; it has been in existence since the ninth century. In the first half of the eleventh century the Bishop of Novgorod was Luka Zhidyata (= "the Jew"), whose name is accepted by some scholars as evidence of a Jewish origin. Novgorod carried on an important trade with the Hanseatic League and early attracted the attention of Jewish merchants, who visited Novgorod (and perhaps lived there) as early as the first half of the fifteenth century. During the famine in Novgorod in 1445 some of its inhabitants escaped starvation by selling themselves to Eastern merchants (Besermans) and Jews. The comparatively high degree of culture among the inhabitants of Novgorod, due to intercourse with foreign countries and an early acquaintance with Jews, created there a negative attitude toward Christianity and an atmosphere favorable to the spread of the teachings of Judaism. The religious movement, known as the Judaizing Heresy, originated in Novgorod in 1471, when there arrived in the suite of PrinceMichael Olelkovich the learned Jew Skhariyah of Kiev (according to some scholars this movement had its origin in Kiev). Skhariyah was aided in the dissemination of the "heresy" by several Jews from Lithuania (Joseph, Moses, etc.). The entire government of Novgorod, according to the census of 1897, contains only 4,740 Jews; the total population of the city is 26,095, but few of whom are Jews. See Aleksei; Judaizing Heresy.

Bibliography:
  • Solovyev, Istoriya Rossiye, v. 225, Moscow, 1882;
  • Regesty i Nadpisi, i., Nos. 188, 190, 201-202, 209-210, 212-214, 221-222;
  • Buduschnost, iv. 18.
H. R. S. J.
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