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Visualizing Hebrew Knowledge: Shape and Text in Scientific and Philosophical Manuscripts

Objective

Between the 10th and 12th centuries CE, the major players of the Mediterranean included the Republic of Venice, Norman Sicily, Fatimid Egypt, and North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula and Byzantium. Each of these centres was inhabited by a mixed population of Jews, Muslims, and Christians who maintained networks of trading partners, exchanging not only goods but also ideas, texts, and, as we will see, art. From the 12th century onward, Jewish scholars, mainly in Spain, Provence, and Italy, began translating scientific works from other languages; Hebrew became dominant as a scientific language. Jews were aware of the scientific developments and the translators gave different reasons justifying their motivations, such as the contempt displayed by foreign peoples for Jewish culture in general, or the conscious desire to embrace the knowledge and development of the surrounding culture in this field. While researchers have examined which and how scientific texts were translated from Latin and Arabic into Hebrew, they have paid little attention to whether and how Jews adopted the visual elements in these texts. Such visual components in Hebrew manuscripts of science and philosophy, mostly in the form of diagrams combining text and shape, stand at the heart of this project. Different diagrams that develop ideas in these fields will be analyzed for the first time, using methods from the disciplines of art history and history of science, with additional attention to manuscript studies and cultural history, emphasizing the interdisciplinary methods required in this field. Although the diagrams are found in Hebrew manuscripts, they are part of a wider context of Latin and Arabic manuscripts. The main aim of this integrative study of the transmission of text and image is to contribute to our understanding of the transfer and sharing of knowledge between different cultures.

Coordinator

UNIVERSIDAD DE GRANADA
Net EU contribution
€ 181 152,96
Address
Cuesta Del Hospicio Sn
18071 Granada
Spain

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Region
Andalucía Granada
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
No data