Profayt Duran and Jewish Identity in Late Medieval Iberia
Author: Maud Kozodoy
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Until the summer of 1391, when anti-Jewish riots spread across the Iberian peninsula, the person subsequently known as Honoratus de Bonafide, a Christian physician and astrologer at the court of King Joan I of Aragon, had been the Jew Profayt Duran of Perpignan. The precise details of Duran's conversion are lost to us. We do know, however, that like many other conversos, he began to conduct his professional and public life as a Christian even as he rejected that new identity in private. What is extraordinary in his case is that instead of quietly making his individual way, he began to write works in Hebrew—including anti-Christian polemics—that revealed his intense inner commitment to remaining a Jew. Forced to reconceptualize Judaism under the pressures of his life as a converso, Duran elevated the principle of inner "intention" above that of ritual observance as the test of Jewish identity, ultimately claiming that the end purposes of Judaism can be attained through the study, memorization, and contemplation of the Hebrew Bible. Duran also conceived of Judaism as a profoundly rational religion, with a proud heritage of scientific learning; the interplay between scientific knowledge and Jewish identity took on a central role in his works. Drawing on archival sources as well as published and unpublished manuscripts, Maud Kozodoy marshals rarely examined facts about the consumption and transmission of the sciences between the medieval and early modern periods to illuminate the thought—and the faith—of one of Jewish history's most enigmatic and fascinating figures.
The history, identity and memory of the Sephardim in their Mediterranean dispersal are analysed by the author with a special reference to the Sephardi community of Jerusalem and to the political, social and cultural changes through which the speakers of Jewish-Spanish went since the turn of the nineteenth century.
Judeoconversos, Afroiberians and Amerindians in the Seventeenth Century
Author: Jonathan Schorsch
Drawing heavily on Inquisition sources, this book rereads race, religion and politics among three newly and incompletely Christianized groups in the seventeenth-century Iberian Atlantic world: Judeoconversos, Afroiberians and Amerindians.
First published in Rome in 1535,Leone Ebreo's Dialogues of Love is one of the most important texts of the European Renaissance. Well known in the Italian academies of the sixteenth century, its popularity quickly spread throughout Europe, with numerous reprintings and translations into French, Latin Spanish, and Hebrew. It attracted a diverse audience that included noblemen, courtesans, artists, poets, intellectuals, and philosophers. More than just a bestseller, the work exerted a deep influence over the centuries on figures as diverse as Giordano Bruno, John Donne, Miguelde Cervantes, and Baruch Spinoza. Leone's Dialogues consists of three conversations - 'On Love and Desire,' 'On the Universality of Love,' and 'Onthe Origin of Love' - that take place over a period of three subsequent days.They are organized in a dialogic format, much like a theatrical representation, of a conversation between a man, Philo, who plays the role of the lover andteacher, and a woman, Sophia, the beloved and pupil. The discussion covers a wide range of topics that have as their common denominator the idea of Love. Through the dialogue, the author explores many different points of view and complex philosophical ideas. Grounded in a distinctly Jewish tradition, and drawing on Neoplatonic philosophical structures and Arabic sources, the work offers a useful compendium of classical and contemporary thought, yet was not incompatible with Christian doctrine. Despite the unfinished state and somewhat controversial, enigmatic nature of Ebreo's famous text, it remains one of the most significant and influential works in the history of Western thought. This new, expertly translated and annotated English edition takes into account the latest scholarship and provides aninvaluable resource for today's readers.