Sephardim: The Jews from Spain / Edition 1

Sephardim: The Jews from Spain / Edition 1

Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press


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Sephardim: The Jews from Spain / Edition 1

Here, in a single volume, is the first comprehensive history in English of the Sephardim--descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabel. Writing for the general reader as well as for the specialist, Paloma Díaz-Mas provides a superbly organized and up-to-date account of Sephardic culture, history, religious practice, language, and literature.

Most of the Sephardim originally settled in Mediterranean Europe, the Low Countries, North Africa, and the Turkish Empire. In the nineteenth century, however, a second diaspora brought the Sephardim to the United States, South America, Israel, and Western Europe.

Díaz-Mas begins with a brief overview of Jewish religion and culture, discussing the calendar, holidays, dietary laws, and life-cycle ceremonies. Next, she traces the history of the Jews in Spain through the 1492 expulsion. She succinctly describes their subsequent wanderings, settlements, and achievements up to the nineteenth century, when false messiahs caused crises that had a profound impact on Sephardic communities.

After detailing the various causes of the second diaspora, the author addresses the effect of the Holocaust specifically on the Sephardim--an issue almost entirely overlooked elsewhere. Díaz-Mas also reviews the involvement of the Sephardim in Spanish politics through the Moroccan Protectorate and into Franco's time and the present. The final chapter focuses on the situation of the Sephardim throughout the world today.

Díaz-Mas's treatment of the language of the Sephardim--called Ladino or Judeo-Spanish--shows how it diverged from "mainstream" Spanish in the 1500s, how it later developed regional dialects, and why it is now disappearing as an everyday language. In addition to traditional Sephardic literature--religious works, coplas (verses), popular stories--newer genres like journalism and theater are also examined.

Authoritative and completely accessible, Sephardim will appeal to anyone interested in Spanish culture and Jewish civilization. Each chapter ends with a list of recommended reading, and the book includes an extensive bibliography of works in Spanish, French, and English.

"Much has been written about the Sephardim. However, not everything said and written--by Spaniards or others--reflects the truth. . . . My aim--in addition to refuting some of the most often-repeated beliefs--is to give the general reader worthwhile, truthful, and well- documented information about the Sephardim, their history, their language, their culture, and their relations with Spain."--From the Introduction

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226144832
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 02/28/1993
Edition description: 1
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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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