“Translating the Arab-Jewish Tradition: From al-Andalus to Palestine“
Abstract: The return to “al-Andalus” and “Palestine/Land of Israel” in the Jewish discourse during the turn of the 20th century as a symbolic, real or imagined space played a crucial role in the development of the modern Jewish discourse and the shaping of the political landscape in Palestine. These floating signifiers emerged as controversial sites representing conflicting notions of time and space, disputing claims of ownership of narratives and territories, marking different cultural and intellectual continuities. Within this context the lecture focuses on two political and cultural projects, based on the return to the “Andalusian legacy”, that were promoted by Arab-Jewish intellectuals vis-à-vis the Jewish return to Palestine/Land of Israel.
The first part of the talk traces Abraham Shalom Yahuda’s political opinion through his long-time dispute with European-Jewish scholars and political leaders regarding Jewish modernization. It examines the dispute in two places: Europe and Palestine. While in the first it evolved around the emergence of the “Jewish question” in Europe and the development of the “Wissenschaft des Judentums”, the second evolved around the “Arab question” and the relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. The second part of the talk examines the intellectual project of Yosef Meyouhas (1863-1942), Yahuda’s contemporary and life-long friend, which translated a collection of Biblical stories from the Palestinian oral tradition into Hebrew, examining its political significance vis-à-vis the mainstream Zionist ideology.
The lecture was held during the EUME Berliner Seminar on 25 June 2014. It inaugurated the workshop “The Possibilities of Arab-Jewish Thought” (25—27 June 2014 at the Forum Transregionale Studien).
Find more lecture recordings by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Zvi Ben Dor, Ella Shohat and others at the EUME website.