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Jacob's ShipwreckDiaspora, Translation, and Jewish-Christian Relations in Medieval England$
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Ruth Nisse

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501703072

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501703072.001.0001

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Diaspora without End and the Renewal of Epic

Diaspora without End and the Renewal of Epic

(p.49) 2 Diaspora without End and the Renewal of Epic
Jacob's Shipwreck

Ruth Nisse

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the bold act of translation with which Sefer Yosippon opens: a brief Jewish version of the Aeneid. It traces Yosippon's “Aeneid” from its original tenth-century location within a European revival of the Roman imperial ideal up to the Angevin twelfth century and its own celebration of empire. In the process, it reveals the stakes of an act of translation that inscribes the Jews into new paradigms of both imperial power and epic literature. It also explores how medieval Hebrew texts challenge Rome through ideas of translation by drawing on another heroic tale, the Midrash Va-Yissau, or The Wars of the Sons of Jacob.

Keywords:   translation, Sefer Yosippon, Aeneid, Rome, empire, Jews, Hebrew texts, Midrash Va-Yissau, epic

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