Sephardim: The Jews from Spain

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Here, in a single volume, is the first comprehensive history in English of the Sephardim—descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. Paloma Díaz-Mas recounts the journey and customs of this fascinating group as they moved across the globe. They settled initially in Mediterranean Europe, the Low Countries, North Africa, and the Turkish Empire, but in the nineteenth century, a second diaspora brought the Sephardim to the United States, South America, Israel, and Western Europe. She traces the origins and survival of their unique language and explores the literature they produced. Their relationship to Spain is also uncovered, as well as their everyday lives. Sephardim is an authoritative and completely accessible investigation of the history and legacy of this amazing people.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Sephardim are a minority within the Jewish community, descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 who retain the Spanish language into this century. This translation of a work by a Spanish academic purports to be a comprehensive introduction to Sephardic history and culture. The author begins with an outline of Jewish beliefs and practices but does not make clear which references are to Sephardim specifically. On the role of women in Jewish life, her information is outdated. She gives limited attention to the persecution of Jews and conversos by the Inquisition before the Expulsion. There is a curious reluctance to see events from a Jewish perspective and sources. However well intentioned Diaz-Mas is, her agenda makes this an apologia for Spain and pulls it out of focus. Notes provided by the author and the translator are skimpy, and the bibliography is incomplete and all but useless to English-only readers. This title fails to capture the Sephardic spirit. Of small benefit to the general reader or specialist.-- Libby K. White, Schenectady Cty. P.L., N.Y.
A comprehensive history of the Sephardim--descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella. Writing for general readers as well as specialists, Diaz-Mas provides an up-to- date account of Sephardi culture, history, religious practice, language, and literature. Translated from the original Spanish edition of 1986 (Barcelona: Riopiedras Ediciones). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226144849
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 912,011
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paloma Dí az- Mas is a researcher at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientí ficas de Madrid.

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Table of Contents

Translator's Foreword
1. Historical Background
Jews in the Iberian Peninsula
Sephardic Judaism
Recommended Reading
2. History of the Sephardim
Exile to Christian Countries
Sephardim in the East
Sephardim in Morocco
The Second Diaspora
Recommended Reading
3. Language
Jewish Languages and the Speech of Spanish Jews in the Middle Ages
The Names of the Language
Judeo-Spanish: A Fossilized Language?
Judeo-Spanish in the Levant
Haketia: Moroccan Judeo-Spanish
Language Registers
Current Status
The Writing System
Recommended Reading
4. Literature
The Bible and Religious Literature
The Coplas
Traditional Genres
Adopted Genres
Recommended Reading
5. The Sephardim and Spain
Spain's Reaction to the Sephardim
Sephardic Reaction to Spain
Recommended Reading
6. The Sephardim Today
Current Worldwide Status
Sephardim in Spain
Sephardic Studies
Recommended Reading
Translator's Additional Bibliography

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