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Body Of Conversion And Immortality Of The Soul: Sara Copio Sullam, The “Beautiful Jewess”

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Chapter Summary

In 1856, the book Les quatre martyrs was published in Paris. In it, art historian Alexis François Rio attempted to present the lives of four exemplary Roman Catholics as paradigms of a "life of sacrifice". This chapter focuses on the fourth of these biographies, namely that of the Genoese scholar Ansaldo Cebà. As Rio reports, Ansaldo had carried on a lively correspondence with the poet Sara Copio Sullam, of the ghetto of Venice, in which he had tried to convince her to convert to Christianity. The Italian poetess acquired a certain amount of fame in the centuries following her death. In 1615, Ansaldo Cebà published his epic poem La reina Esther. For Sara Sullam, this literary event provided the impulse for initiating an important correspondence that, after an anonymous beginning, gave rise to an intellectually and personally active and passionate exchange with the poem's author.

Keywords: Alexis François Rio; Ansaldo Cebà; conversion of the soul; Les quatre martyrs; platonic love relationship; Roman Catholics; Sara Copio Sullam

10.1163/ej.9789004171961.i-278.40
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