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The Father of the Latin-into-Hebrew Translations: “Doeg the Edomite,” the Twelfth-Century Repentant Convert

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Chapter Summary

The earliest Latin-into-Hebrew translator whom we can date with certainty was also the most prolific. Prof. Michael McVaugh and the author are preparing an in-depth study of this translator and of his oeuvre. He refers to himself as Doʾeg ha-ʾedomi, "Doeg the Edomite", a highly evocative pseudonym: Doeg the Edomite, as we know him from the book of Samuel and talmudic sources, was profoundly learned in the Torah, but was also a foreigner and a villain, an informer and a murderer. On the contrary: Doeg was a repentant convert who could not return to Judaism openly; this is what induced him to work for the benefit of those he continued to see as his brethren. Doeg's momentous contribution to the corpus of Hebrew medieval writings on medicine and thus to the medicine practiced by medieval Jewish physicians is unmistakable.

Keywords: Doeg the Edomite; Hebrew; Jewish physicians; Latin; Michael McVaugh; repentant convert

10.1163/9789004252868_010
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