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News and Announcements: Publications

Hell on Stage: Hebrew Poetry and Kabbalah in Counter-Reformation Italy: NEH Fellowship Recipient

Wednesday, June 10, 2020  
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Hell on Stage: Hebrew Poetry and Kabbalah in Counter-Reformation Italy, Michela Andreatta 

Written at the height of the Italian Counter Reformation, Tofteh ‘Arukh (Hell Arrayed) by rabbi and scholar Moses Zacuto (Amsterdam, c. 1620–Mantua, 1697) is a 925-line dramatic poem in Hebrew graphically depicting the hereafter of sinners according to Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. Despite its popularity among Jewish readership of the pre-modern era and being generally considered a milestone in the history of Hebrew literary culture, it has never been translated into English, nor has it been the subject of thorough scholarly investigation in English.

Sitting at the intersection of textual studies and historical and literary criticism, the project intends to make Tofteh ‘Arukh accessible to the English reader by offering the first-ever complete annotated English translation of the original Hebrew text. The translation will be supplemented by introductory essays framing Zacuto's work against the cultural ambience of early modern Jewish Italy in which it was produced, read, and circulated.

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