Found in Translation: Two Cases of Judaism and Translation in the Medieval Mediterranean

  • 617 Kent Hall, Columbia University 1140 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY, 10027 United States

Join the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies for a lunchtime lecture on

Found in Translation: Two Cases of Judaism and Translation in the Medieval Mediterranean

with Isabelle Levy, the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies Stanley A. and Barbara B. Rabin Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Date: Wednesday, November 2

Time: 12:00pm

Location: 617 Kent Hall, Columbia University

What, if anything, makes translation Jewish? Jews were not only the paradigmatic translators of texts from Arabic to Latin and Castilian but were also translators of literary phenomena from Arabic and Romance language texts into the Hebrew literary cultures of the Mediterranean. Using the practice of translation (the rendering of texts from one language into another) and the idea of translation (as a medium of cultural transmission) as frameworks, this talk will explore the idea of translation via two case studies: Jacob Ben El’azar and Immanuel of Rome, whose literary creations reflect the symbiotic effects of translation in this period. In early-thirteenth-century Toledo, Ben El’azar not only translated the Arabic version of Kalila wa-Dimna, the collection of didactic animal fables, from Arabic to Hebrew, but he also experimented with Romance-language literary practices in his Sefer ha-meshalim. Immanuel of Rome, a fourteenth-century contemporary of Dante, moved fluidly across cultural circles, having composed Italian-style poems in both Hebrew and Italian. The talk will examine a few features of their literary styles, from concrete metaphors to Christian courtly love, to assess the relationship between Judaism and translation in this period.

Please RSVP to iijs@columbia.edu as a light kosher lunch will be served.

Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Department of Religion