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Jews of Spain relationship with Islamic and Arabic Culture - Assignment Example

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In the year 1492, catholic monarchs king Ferdinand and Isabella united Spain and issued an ultimatum that compelled everybody to…
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Jews of Spain Relationship with Islamic and Arabic Culture Introduction Before Catholicism, Jews of Spain were the largest and most prosperous amongst the Jewish communities that were ruled by both Christians and Muslims. In the year 1492, catholic monarchs king Ferdinand and Isabella united Spain and issued an ultimatum that compelled everybody to convert to Catholicism or face expulsion or even death. Therefore, the population of the Spanish Jews declined remarkably. However, it is approximated that the population of Spanish Jews currently is between 13,000 and 40,000 (Corré 170). By then, the Jewish Spain communicated with a language called Ladino. Ladino was a romantic language that borrowed much from Judeo-Catalan, Hebrew, and Old Castilian. However, Jews in Spain currently uses Spanish as their language.
Ways in which Jews of Spain were more Arabic in their cultural tastes than Jewish
The adoption of the Arabic culture by the Spanish Jewish started in the twelfth century when Almohades seized the southern parts of the Spain. He gave three choices to the Jews in Spain: death, flee or adopt the Arabic culture. Some of the Arabic cultural practices that Spanish Jews adopted include using of the last name. Jews were renowned of using their first name, their fathers’ name, or even their tribal name but with adoption of the Arabic culture, they were compelled to use the last name. The Spanish Jews adopted washing of legs and hands before entering the synagogue just as the Muslims do; they also adopted Arabic tunes for their sacred songs (Attig 832).
In addition, the Arabic rule made the Spanish Jews to shift from their native languages such as Hebrews and Aramaic to Arabic language. The loss of the Jewish language led to extinction of the central literary works that was a characteristic of the Jewish culture. Examples of the Jewish literary works are poetry, Torah, Mishnah, liturgy, and Midrash (Corré 172). Moreover, the wide spread of the Arabic language resulted into Bible translation into Arabic. Consequently, Jews shifted from their traditional habit of being religious to secular. Furthermore, the Spanish Jews adopted the court system of settling disputes. Additionally, Jews of Spain accepted the Arabic traditions and customs including clothing in their daily routine (Corré 172).
Ways in which Jews in Spain resisted Arabic and Islamic culture.
Jewish of Spain never lost hope of their culture, however, they took advantage of the Islamic rule to revive their culture by collaborating with them. The Spanish Jews struck an agreement with the Islamic rulers so that they could exercise their religion and culture. This agreement came at a cost because they had to a pay a special tax called jizya. Therefore, they enjoyed some level of freedom that was missing from the former Christendom rule (Attig 834). Consequently, the Spanish Jews were able to revive their culture such as their language and settling their disputes outside the courts.
In addition, they were able to revive their literary works together with translating the Bible back to Jewish language. From this collaboration, the Spanish Jews were able to flourish economically where most of them were able to become respectable members of the society by reviving their former professions as scholars, jewelers, physicians, tailors, moneylenders, tanners, and cobblers. Consequently, the Spanish Jews were able to afford their distinct clothing of yellow turban that differentiated them from the Muslims (Attig 838)In conclusion, though Islamic rule affected the Spanish Jews culturally, they broadly salvaged the same culture from extinction. The oppressive Christendom regime was almost eliminating the Jewish culture from existence.
Works cited
Attig, Remy. "Did the Sephardic Jews Speak Ladino?" Bulletin of Spanish Studies 89.6 (2012):
831-838. Print.
Corré, Alan D. "Sephardim: The Jews from Spain (review)." Shofar: An Interdisciplinary
Journal of Jewish Studies 13.1 (1994): 170-172. Print. Read More
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