What Happened to the Torah in 1492? The Hebrew Bible in Spain and the Sephardic Diaspora after the Expulsion

For the Public
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
7:00 PM

Congregation Mikveh Israel
44 North 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Etty Lassman

The expulsions and (forced) conversions of Iberian Jews in the 1490s took place at the very time when Christian humanists were beginning to study the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew language like never before. Sephardic exiles took whatever books they could with them wherever they fled, from North Africa to Italy and from the Ottoman Empire to the Dutch Republic. Their biblical manuscripts provided the foundations for transformative editions that would play central roles in the early modern period for Jews and Christians alike. Meanwhile, back in Spain, a small circle of Catholic scholars braved the terror of the Inquisition to ponder the Sephardic biblical tradition. This lecture explores the Sephardic and Spanish traditions of Hebrew Biblical studies in the century following the expulsion.