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Yehuda Ha-Levi's Hebrew Translations Of Arabic Poems

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Chapter Summary

The compilers of the earliest Dīwān of Yehuda Ha-Levi already took note of the fact that several of his poems were translations of Arabic poems, bringing the Arabic sources of these poems in Hebrew characters, albeit without identifying the authors. In this chapter, the authors bring these Arabic poems, together with the Arabic original and in English translation. Each poem is based upon a known motif from Arabic poetry: one relating to wine and the other to love. Indeed, Schirmann was correct in stating that, in principle, the Jewish poets did not engage in translation of Arabic poetry into Hebrew. The Hebrew translations were only made from rhymed prose literature, and even this only for the sake of the Jewish communities in Provence who were not fluent in Arabic.

Keywords: Arabic poems; Dīwān; Hebrew translations; Jewish poets; Yehuda Ha-Levi



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