Page 120 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

Basic HTML Version

e filosofos
” by the Jew Jacob Qadique (Saddiq) of Ucles.28
Moses “Agan” or Natan of Tarrega was the author in Hebrew
of a collection of proverbs. In addition, he composed a Catalan
poem on chess (Abraham Ibn cEzra also reputedly wrote a He­
brew poem on chess, which may not actually be his, however).
This was also translated into Castilian in 1350.29
ROMANCE WRITINGS
There certainly were many works, particularly poems, com­
posed in Romance which have been lost, while some remain
in manuscript awaiting publication. As an example, early in the
fifteenth century Astruch Rimokh, who later converted in the
Tortosa disputation, exchanged poetry with Solomon de Piera
(the correct spelling) of Zaragoza. According to one of the lat-
ter’s poems, Astruch sent him a composition, apparently of the
maqama
type, which he had written in Catalan. De Piera praised
it, but satirically criticized him for writing in the vernacular,
saying that his desire was to stick to Hebrew.30
The massive conversion of Spanish Jews to Christianity in
the late fourteenth and throughout the fifteenth centuries, trag­
ic as it was in terms of Jewish history, brought a cultural ren ­
aissance to Spanish literature and language of incalculable sig­
nificance. Virtually all of the chroniclers, many of the theolog­
ical writers (in Latin, to an extent, but chiefly still in Spanish),
almost all of the poets and founders of the “Picaresque” novel,
as well as authors of important political and other such treatises,
were
conversos.
This sudden proliferation of Spanish literary ac­
tivity by Jewish converts certainly did not emerge out of nothing,
and without doubt it indicates that Jews also were writing poetry
28. This was published by Joseph Balari y Jovany in
Revista catalana
(1889),
an extremely rare journal. See Moritz Steinschneider,
Die hebraeischen
Ubersetzeungen des Mittealters
. . . (rpt. Graz, 1956), pp. 977-79, which M.
Kayserling, “Jehudah Bonsenyor and His Collection o f Aphorisms,”
J .Q .R .
(o.s.)
8 (1896): 632-42 apparently never saw (there are many errors in the article).
29.
“Totseot hayyim,”
originally published in Menahem de Lonzano,
Shtei yadot
(1618; rpt. 1969), excerpts in Hayyim Schirmann,
ha-Shirah ha-cIvrit bi-Sefarad
u-ve-Provans
(Tel-Aviv, 1956), II, 542-43. On his Catalan work, see now J. Riera
i Sans, “Les obres catalanes de Mosse Natan,”
Miscellania Pere Bohigas
(Barcelona,
1981) I, 95-105.
30. Solomon de Piera,
Divan,
ed. (Heb.) Simon Bernstein, (N.Y., 1942), pp.
87-89.
112
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL