STADTHAGEN, JOSEPH (d. 1715), German rabbi. One of a venerable line of rabbis, he was born in Metz and was Landesrabbiner of Schaumburg-Lippe for many years, taking his name from his home in Stadthagen. An acknowledged rabbinical authority (author of Divrei Zikkaron, Amsterdam, 1705), with a thorough knowledge of the New Testament and apologetic works, he participated in several religious disputations. In July 1704 he was called upon by Leffman *Behrend, the powerful Hanoverian *Court Jew, to accept the challenge of an apostate, who had been making the rounds of Jewish communities, challenging the scholars to disputations and blackmailing them into paying him to desist. The disputation was held in the presence of the elector of Hanover, the future George I of England, and his court. Stadthagen deftly refuted the stock charges of the apostate, gained the sympathy of the tolerant court, and established his intellectual and moral superiority. He made a vivid impression on the electress Sophie who parted from him with the words, "We all have but one God." The debate was transcribed by Stadthagen in Hebrew and Yiddish in his Minḥat Zikkaron, which was edited, translated, and published by A. Berliner, Religionsgespraech (1914).
D. Kaufmann, in: REJ, 22 (1891), 98f.; J. Rosenthal, in: Aresheth, 2 (1960), 159.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.