Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series

Guest writer

Exploring the Sephardic Legacy #4

How the Sephardim “Worlded with Andrew Gow and Francis Landy is the fourth presentation in the “Exploring the Sephardic Legacy” series.  This illustrated lecture takes place on Sunday, March 24, 2:00 pm at Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2J3.  Admission is by donation; light refreshments will be served.  If you have any questions, please contact Francis at flandy@ualberta.ca.

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Pre-Isabellan medieval Spain lived on in the post 1492 Sephardic diaspora: in the 1920s a Spanish envoy remarked on the "purity" of the "Castillian" (Ladino) he encountered at Thessalonika in the 1920s. The Sephardim "worlded" an alternate or parallel Spanish empire, an empire consisting not of military conquest and oppression, but of a shared language and culture—a largely urban constellation characterized by commercial and intellectual vigour, an urbane and relatively relaxed religiosity (if not downright, apikorsut), and a simultaneous openness and clannishness that preserved such communities in splendid separation, whether in Salonika, Amsterdam, London, or New York, until well into the 20th century.

Andrew Gow is a historian who has followed his family to Victoria to retire after a career of research and teaching about pre-modern European culture and religion at the University of Alberta (and elsewhere). He has written all the books and articles he cares to publish, and continues to edit both a series of scholarly monographs in his field and an 18-volume scholarly reference work on pre-modern Europe.

Francis Landy is a biblical scholar who has recently made his home in Victoria, after a career of over thirty years at the University of Alberta. He is a member of Congregation Emanu-El. He has published a number of books and many articles, and is in particular a specialist in the poetry of the Hebrew Bible. He has written on the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Hosea and other books, as well as the theory of the study of religion. 

 

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