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Latin-into-Hebrew: Introducing a Neglected Chapter in European Cultural History

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Chapter Summary

The overwhelming majority of Hebrew translations were done from Arabic, but Latin-into-Hebrew translations were carried out as well. Most of the historically influential works of Jewish philosophy were written in Arabic and subsequently translated into Hebrew. The relative neglect of the Latin-into-Hebrew cultural transfer has obscured from view significant phenomena of European and Jewish intellectual history. The translations from Latin into Hebrew may point at an awareness and historically undocumented connection of some Jewish intellectual circles to the Latinate intellectual world, and suggest the possibility that some of the aforementioned parallels might be the result of significant intellectual exchanges. In addition, the Latin-into- Hebrew translations is a central part of the story of the complex relationships between Jews and Christians in Europe; the better we can reconstruct the history of these translations in different times and areas, the better we will understand the multifaceted nature of Jewish-Christian relations.

Keywords: European intellectual history; Hebrew; Jewish-Christian relations; Jews; Latin



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