Jesus in Judeo-Arabic: Toledot Yeshu in the Medieval Near East

Co-sponsored by AMESALLDepartment of HistoryDepartment of Religion, and the Program in Global Medieval Studies

goldstein.pngMiriam Goldstein 
Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Gerard Weinstock Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies, Department of NELC, Harvard University

Tuesday, November 15, 2022
10:30 AM

Held in person at Miller Hall room 115 (14 College Ave.)

Jesus_in_Judeo-Arabic.jpgToledot Yeshu (TY) is a long-lived polemical body of literature that treats the life of Jesus, entertaining to some, obnoxious to others. This anti-Christian narrative has been a best-seller among Jews since its initial anonymous composition in Late Antiquity and continuing through medieval and modern times. Recent research has highlighted the extent of its popularity and its wide variety of renditions among European Jewish communities. TY, though, was also highly popular among Jews living under Muslim rule in the Near East and Mediterranean. It is attested in a surprising variety of renditions in Judeo-Arabic, and also circulated extensively in the Near East in Hebrew. In my presentation, I will introduce the composition, highlighting and detailing its early and significant Judeo-Arabic attestations. I will also contextualize the Jewish presentation of Jesus within the Arabic-speaking contexts of the medieval Near East, considering how this parodical Jewish story transmitted so extensively forms part of a multi-confessional patchwork of traditions about Jesus in Arabic.

Open to faculty and graduate students.
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