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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories






Meshal Haqadmoni

Fables from the distant Past

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Edited and translated by
Raphael Loewe

The wondrous fables of Ibn Sahula in Meshal Haqadmoni, presented here in English for the first time, provide a most unusual introduction to the intellectual and social universe of the Sephardi Jewish world of thirteenth-century Spain.

Ibn Sahula wrote his fables in rhymed prose, here rendered into English as rhymed couplets. They comprise a series of satirical debates between a cynic and a moralist, put into the mouths of animals; the moralist always triumphs. The debates, which touch on such subjects as time, the soul, the physical sciences and medicine, astronomy, and astrology amply and reflect human foibles, political compromise, and court intrigue.
They are suffused throughout with traditional Jewish law and lore, a flavour reinforced by the profusion of biblical quotations reapplied.
This richly annotated edition has much to offer to scholars in many areas: medieval Hebrew literature, medieval intellectual history, Sepharadi studies and the history of thirteenth century Spain.
Both the translation and the scholarly annotations reflect Raphael Loewe's deep understanding of Ibn Sahula's world including the interrelationship of Hebrew Greek and Arabic speculative thought and the interplay between the languages. Scholars will profit enormously from the textual annotations, and specialists and non-specialists alike will benefit from the masterly introduction.
Two full series of illustrations are reproduced alongside the text: woodcuts from Venice 1547, and the splendid vignettes in the rothschild Miscellany, a fifteenth-century Italian manuscript in the Israel Museum.

Rphael loewe was formaly Goldsmid Professor of Hebrew at University College London, having previously taught at the university of Leeds and held a research fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and a visiting professorship at brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. His publications concern variouse aspects of judaism in late antiquity and the Middle Ages, and include much translations of a substantial number of liturgical poems for the Passover season are contained in his Rylands Haggadah (1988) and others- among them the Royal Crown- in his Ibn Gabirol (1989). His translation of Fitzgerald's Omar Khayyam into medieval Hebrew verse was published in 1982. He is also a contributing author of the companion volumes to the facsimile editions of the Barcelona Haggadah (1992), the Rothschild Haggadah (2000), the Parma Psalter (1996), and the North French Miscellany (2004).



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