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Historical Setting And Narrative Structure

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Chapter Summary

This chapter embarks upon decoding the socio-cultural and/or political claims borne by the collection of stories about his ancestors that Aḥima῾az was fortunate enough to retrieve and was anxious to recount to his fellow coreligionists in eleventh-century southern Italy. To further place the text in context, we must now draw a rough picture of the contemporary scene and disclose as many as possible ways in which the medieval mind looked at and represented reality. The first major story recollected by Aḥima῾az is the narrative of the adventures of a Baghdadite scholar named Aharon or Abu Aharon. The second major story remembered by the Jews of southern Italy and recorded by Aḥima῾az is that of Paltiel. The story of Shephatiah is the third major narrative recorded by the Jews of southern Italy. The chapter discusses minor stories that include: story of Silano, story of Sawdan, story of Tophilo.

Keywords: Aḥima῾az; Abu Aharon; Italy; Jews; Sawdan; Shephatiah; Silano; Tophilo



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