Isaac Cardoso, Las excelencias de los hebreos (Amsterdam 1679)

Las excelencias de los hebreos (Amsterdam 1679) is a treatise describing the positive characteristics (excelencias) of the Jewish people and a containing a refutation of common anti-Jewish calumnies (calunias) written by Isaac Cardoso (b. Fernando Cardoso, Trancoso, Portugal 1603 – d. Verona, Italy 1683). Excelencias is an apology or pro-Jewish treatise meant to educate its readers on Jewish history and practice, and to combat typical anti-Jewish ideas that were very widespread in Europe since the Middle Ages, and that persist to this day.

In this excerpt, the tenth and last of the calumnies leveled at leveled at Jews that he addresses in the work, Cardoso refutes the blood libel often aimed at aimed at Jewish communities living in majority Christian societies from the Middle ages to the present day. This is the accusation that Jews murder Christian children and use their blood to make the unleavened bread that is eaten ritually on the holiday of Pesach, or Passover.

As Cardoso explains in this text, these accusations are in contradiction to Jewish law, which forbids the consumption of blood of any sort, and condemns murder and human sacrifice in no uncertain terms. It is also worth pointing out that the accusation of drinking the blood and eating the flesh of a human sacrifice is structurally similar to the sacrament of communion, in which believing Catholics drink wine that according to the doctrine of transubstantiation has become the blood of Christ, and eat a wafer that according to the same doctrine has become his flesh. No such parallel is to be found, however, in Jewish ritual.

English version [doc]

Spanish version [doc]

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Cantar de Mio Cid (ca. 1200)

This is a pedagogical edition of a selection of el Cantar de Mio Cid (ca. 1200) with a short general introduction, notes, and brief bibliography. The edition and translation are by Matthew Bailey (2019).

The Cantar de Mio Cid is the only complete surviving epic poem in Castilian. It relates the quasi-historical exploits of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (d. 1099), a low-ranking Christian noble from outside Burgos who went on to become a powerful warlord and (temporary) ruler of Valencia. The poem traces the trajectory of Díaz’s disgrace at court, exile, and eventual triumph and restoration to the good graces of his king, Alfonso VI of Castile.

[Spanish version] [English version]

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Don Juan Manuel, Conde Lucanor (ca. 1335)

Don Juan Manuel’s  Conde Lucanor (ca. 1335) is a frametale or collection of tales contained within another tale.

The fictional Count Lucanor’s advisor, Patronio, narrates to the Count a series of exemplary tales meant to teach the audience how to navigate to one’s advantage a number of political situations.

Here editors Savo and Cossío present a selection from Juan Manuel’s general prologue, along with tale number 31, about the Dean of the Cathedral of Santiago and Don Yllán, sorcerer of Toledo.

The English version has an introduction and notes in English, with the primary text in facing medieval Castilian/English translation. The Spanish version has an introduction and notes in Spanish, with the primary text in facing medieval Castilian and modern Spanish.

[Spanish version] [Engllish version]

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Juan Ruiz, Libro de buen amor (ca. 1335)

Juan Ruiz may or may not be the author of the Libro de buen amor (‘Book of Good Love’) (ca. 1335), a jocular and disorganized miscellany of songs, fables, and first-person misadventures of a priest very much unlucky in love.

The English version has an introduction and notes in English, with the primary text in facing medieval Castilian/English translation. The Spanish version has an introduction and notes in Spanish, with the primary text in facing medieval Castilian and modern Spanish.

Mary-Anne Vetterling provides us with a selection of passages from the work in two parts:

Part 1: The Debate Between the Greeks and the Romans, The Story of Pitas Payas, Painter from Brittany, Fable of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse

[English version] [Spanish version]

Part 2: The Prophecies for the Son of King Alcaraz, Greed and the Fable of the Dog and his Reflection, The Properties of Money, The Encounter with the Mountain Woman (serrana), Characteristics of Small Women

[English version] [Spanish version]

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