Joseph ben Samuel Scombining dot belowarfati's «Tratado de Melibea y Calisto»: A Sephardic Jew's reading of the Celestina in light of the medieval Judeo-Spanish go-between tradition

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Abstract

The introductory poem that the sixteenth-century Italian Jew, Samuel Scombining dot belowarfati, included with his now lost Hebrew translation of Fernando de Rojas' Spanish masterpiece, La Celestina, mentions several elements foreign to Rojas work as we know it today. These include the image of the war of lovers, the description of women as the Angels of Death and as the Devil (Azazel), and the identification of sexual desire and religious assimilation. In my opinion these elements show that Scombining dot belowarfati had in mind two earlier works from the Judeo-Spanish go-between tradition, Minhat Yehuda by Judah Ibn Šabbatay and the «Maqâma of Marriage» by Judah al-Hcombining dot belowarīzī. In both of these Hebrew works we find images similar to those used by Scombining dot belowarfati, as well as some strikingly similar formal and linguistic characteristics, all of which suggests that these two works were part of the historical-literary background of Scombining dot belowarfati (and, perhaps, Rojas himself).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-347
Number of pages19
JournalSefarad
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Go-between
  • Judeo-Spanish Literature
  • La Celestina
  • Maqāmat
  • Samuel Scombining dot belowarfati

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