Spanish: Judaeo Bible History (3)

**List: Spanish: Judaeo Ministry

the Holy Bible ( la Santa Biblia )
Spanish: Judaeo...

"THIS language is spoken by the Jews of Turkey, who are the descendants of the Jews formerly
settled in the Spanish Peninsula.   Their forefathers emigrated to Spain and Portugal at a very early
period of history: traditions, both Jewish and Christian, represent them as having arrived there soon
after the destruction of the first Temple; and it is very probable that they were settled in the
Peninsula before the time of the Roman Emperors.   This section of the Jewish people claims to be the
house of David, and though the claim is not to be proved genealogically (for no genealogies have been
kept by the Jews since their dispersion), yet it cannot be refuted by any existing data; and that the
house of David will be found distinct from the other families at the time of the restitution of Israel
appears to be the inference drawn, by many members of that nation, from Zech. xii. 10--14.   But, be
this as it may, it is certain that the Sephardim (Spaniards), as they are still called, consider themselves
and are regarded by their brethren as the "aristocracy of the dispersed people of Israel."   They are
distinguished from other Jews, not by any difference of faith or of religious observances, but by a
peculiar language, and by diversity of historical associations.   They look back with a degree of pride
on their glorious sojourn of many centuries in the Peninsula.   They were not, even there, exempt
from persecution; but their position, social and intellectual, was very different from that of their
brethren in other lands.   Under the Visigoths, the early masters of the Peninsula, they were permitted
to rise to opulence; and the Saracens, who afterwards established themselves in that country, overlooked
the difference of their religious creeds in the similarity induced by their common Oriental origin, and
admitted the Jews to an equality with themselves.
   Thus protected and favoured, the Jews of Spain co-operated with the Arabs in maintaining the
light of literature and science during the darkness of the middle ages; and their names became famous
in the schools of Cordova, Toledo, Barcelona, and Granada.   At length, by a merciless mandate of
Ferdinand and Isabella, the Jews were forcibly ejected from Spain in 1492, and from Portugal in 1497.
There is great discrepancy in the estimates that have been transmitted, concerning the number of those
thus violently expelled from the land of their adoption.   Some authors represent the number of exiled
Jews at 800,000, others at 300,000; while a contemporary Spanish statistical account states that the

number was 27,000.   The confusion in these various estimates was, perhaps, occasioned by the return
of many of the Jews after their expulsion.   Some among them, by feigned conversion to Christianity,
were permitted to remain; and it has been asserted, on credible authority, that even yet, in Spain,
"posts of dignity in the Church, the priesthood, and the cloister, are held by men who in heart are
Jews, and who meet in secret, at stated seasons, to mourn over and abjure their outward profession of
the Roman faith
, and to curse, with fearful imprecations, the memory of Ferdinand and Isabella."

While many of the Jews thus remained in the Peninsula, the great majority, preferring their religion
to the adopted land of their forefathers, emigrated to Turkey; and, according to recent estimates, it
appears that about 800,000 of this people are at the present time dispersed through the cities and towns
of that empire.
   The Spanish and Judeo- Spanish languages are fundamentally the same; but more than three
centuries having elapsed since all communication was cut off between the Spaniards and the exiled
Jews, some changes, neither few nor inconsiderable, have been introduced into the languages spoken
by the two nations; so that they now differ greatly from each other in their respective vocabularies,
in their systems of orthography, and in their phraseology.   Judeo- Spanish is, in fact, the Spanish of
the fifteenth century, moulded in accordance with the Hebrew idiom.   It is in daily use among the
Jews of Turkey, and is, in fact, so exclusively employed and understood by them, that in most of
their books of devotion, the Hebrew and the corresponding version in Judeo- Spanish are printed in
parallel columns.


   The exiled Jews of Spain and Portugal established a press of great celebrity at Ferrara, whence
several important works were issued.   But the most famous production of this press is a Spanish version
of the Old Testament, said to have been translated from the Hebrew expressly for the Jews, by
Edward Pinel.   A much earlier translation than this, however, was executed by some learned Jews;
and Rabbi David Kimchi is said
, though perhaps incorrectly, to have been the principal translator.
The Bible of Ferrara was published under the superintendence of Abraham Usque and Yom Tov
Athias.   It was issued in 1553, in two different forms
, which have been wrongly looked upon as
different editions.   The dedication in the earlier copies is to Dona Gracia Nasi, a Jewish lady of
distinction, mother-in-law to Don Joseph Miquez: in the later ones to Hercules de Este, Duke of

   Abraham Usque is said to have printed in the same year (1553), at Ferrara, a separate edition of
the Psalms, and, two years afterwards, an edition of the Pentateuch, Megilloth (Canticles, Ruth,

Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther), and Haphtoroth, or sections of the Prophets, read by appoint-
ment in the synagogues.
   The Ferrara edition of the Old Testament was reprinted in Amsterdam in 1611, and again at
Venice in 1617.   In the course of the following year, this version was revised and corrected by
Manasseh ben Israel, and printed in Roman letters, at the same place, in 1630.   It was again revised
by Rabbi Samuel de Cazeres, and, with a new preface, was printed at Amsterdam in 1661.
   Besides the above, other editions of the Old Testament were published as above, among
which, in 1639, was an edition with short explanatory notes, by Jacob Lambrosus; and the following
editions of portions of this version are mentioned by Le Long:--Pentateuch and Haphtoroth,
Amsterdam, 1645; Pentateuch, 1695; Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Psalms (with the Hebrew), Sabionetta,
   Another edition of the Old Testament, for the benefit of the Spanish Jews, was printed at Vienna,
between the years 1813 and 1816, in four volumes 4to.; it contained, in parallel columns, the Hebrew
text and the Judeo-Spanish version in rabbinical characters.   An edition in Roman characters was
likewise published about the same time, at Amsterdam, corresponding in almost every particular with
the Vienna edition, of which it is considered a mere transcription.   The American Bible Society has
within recent years issued two editions of the Old Testament in Judeo- Spanish, on behalf of the mission
established among the Spanish Jews in Turkey.   The first of these editions was printed with the Hebrew
text in parallel columns, in 1843, at Vienna, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Schauffler: it consisted of 3000
copies.   The second edition left the press in 1850; it was printed, like the former, under the super-
vision of Mr. Schauffler.   This version is remarkable for the extreme servility with which it follows the
Hebrew idiom; and, as it has long been regarded by the Spanish Jews as the standard of their
language, the peculiarity of its style has induced corresponding peculiarities in their customary
mode of phraseology, and has perhaps been the main cause of the divergence of their language from
that of Spain.
   A translation of the New Testament into Judeo-Spanish was undertaken by the British and
Foreign Bible Society, at the suggestion of Dr. Pinkerton; and, in 1823, the Rev. Mr. Leeves, their
agent in Turkey, was intrusted with the preparation of the work.   Mr. Leeves, with the assistance of
some learned Jews to whom Judeo-Spanish was vernacular, drew the translation from the Greek text,
consulting at the same time several different versions of the New Testament.   After his translation
had been subjected to three successive revisions, it was printed, in an edition of 3000 copies, at Corfu,
in 1829, under the care of Mr. Lowndes.
  This version does not appear to have yet passed through
a second edition, nor have we any recent information concerning its success."
--The Bible of Every Land. (1860, Second Edition)   Samuel Bagster   [Info only]

JUDEO-SPANISH.--1860   S. Bagster   [Info only: Rabbinical & Hebrew Character side by side   n.d. Exodus 20:1-7 both unknown.]

JUDEO-SPANISH.--1860   S. Bagster   [Info only: Rabbinical Character   n.d. John 1:1-14 unknown.]

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