Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Hebrew translation of Amadis of Gaul

More than a mere translation, Jacob Algaba's 1541 version tells us about the complex relationship between Jewish and Spanish cultures.

The Theodosian Walls of Constantinople near the Golden Gate. Photo by Sue Burke.


A recent post at the website of David A. Wacks, Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Oregon, discusses the Spanish influences on the Sephardim. After the Jews' expulsion from Spain in 1492, many moved to Constantinople, where they changed Jewish culture in that city. That culture in turn affected the Hebrew translation of Amadis of Gaul — a translation also tells us a lot about the Spanish original and why it became popular.

"Reading Amadís in Istanbul" at:



  1. Nice post. I was waiting for that Hebrew translation and I was glad that I have found it in here.Thanks for sharing.I could say that translators really play a big role in our society.I can't see machines taking over the jobs of human translators in the near future, as they have done with so many other professions.

  2. I've since learned that a second edition of Algaba's translation was published in 1981 in Tel Aviv by Zvi Malachi.

    I agree about translators. We bring people together, and machines can't handle the complexities and ambiguities of real people.