The Hebrew Bible in Fifteenth-Century Spain

Exegesis, Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts


The Hebrew Bible in Fifteenth-Century Spain: Exegesis, Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts investigates the relationship between the Bible and the cultural production of Iberian societies between the anti-Jewish riots of 1391 and the Expulsion of 1492. During this turbulent and transformative period, the Bible intersected with virtually all aspects of late medieval Iberian culture: its languages of expression, its material and artistic production, and its intellectual output in literary, philosophical, exegetic, and polemical spheres. The articles in this cross-cultural and interdisciplinary volume present instantiations of the Hebrew Bible’s deployment in textual and visual forms on diverse subjects (messianic exegesis, polemics, converso liturgy, Bible translation, conversion narrative, etc.) and utilize a broad range of methodological approaches (from classical philology to Derridian analysis).

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Jonathan Decter, Ph.D. (2002) in Medieval Jewish Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, is Associate Professor and Edmond J. Safra Professor of Sephardic Studies at Brandeis University. He is author of Iberian Jewish Literature: Between al-Andalus and Christian Europe (Indiana UP, 2007), which won the Salo W. Baron Prize for best first book in Jewish Studies.

Arturo Prats, Ph.D. (2004) in Semitic Philology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, is assistant professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He has published on Hebrew literature of the fifteenth century focussing on the work of the poet Shelomoh Bonafed including La disputa de Selomohh ben Reuben Bonafed con la aljama de Zaragoza (Granada 2010)
Introduction Jonathan P. Decter and Arturo Prats
I. Literature and Art
Weeping Over Rachel´s Tomb: Literary Reelaborations of a Midrashic Motif in
Medieval and Early Modern Spain Luis M. Girón Negrón
The First Murder: Picturing Polemic c. 1391 Tom Nickson
Sephardic Illuminated Bibles: Jewish Patrons and Fifteenth-Century Christian Ateliers Andreina Contessa
II. Jewish Exegesis
Abarbanel’s Exegetical Subversion of Maimonides’ ‘Aqedah: Transforming a Knight of Intellectual Virtue into a Knight of Existential Faith James Diamond
‘From My Flesh I Envision God’: Shem Tov Ibn Shaprut´s Exegesis of Job 19:25-27 Libby Garshowitz
Messianic Interpretation of the Song of Songs in Late-Medieval Iberia Maud Kozodoy
III. Uses of Christian Exegesis
Pro-Converso Apologetics and Biblical Exegesis Claude B. Stuczynski
A Father´s Bequest: Augustinian Typology and Personal Testimony in the Conversion Narrative of Solomon Halevi / Pablo de Santa María Ryan Szpiech
IV. Liturgy and Translation
The Liturgy of Portuguese Conversos Asher Salah
The Relationship between Ladino Liturgical Texts and Spanish Bibles Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald
Translation and the Invention of Renaissance Jewish Culture: The Case of Judah Messer Leon and Judah Abravanel Aaron W. Hughes
All those interested in inter-religious interaction in medieval Iberia, Jewish history, exegesis, and thought, fifteenth-century history, Sephardic Judaism, converso studies, and the history of the Bible in the medieval period.
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