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Reviews311 Girón-Negrón, Luis M. and Laura Minervini, Eds. Las Copias de Yosef: Entre la Biblia y el Midrash en la poesía judeoespañola. Biblioteca Románica Hispánica IV. Textos 29. Madrid: Credos, 2006. ISBN 84-2492846 -6 Luis Girón-Negrón and Laura Minervini have combined their skills as philologists and literary scholars to produce this new edition of the anonymous fourteenth-century Hebrew aljamiado Coplas de Yosef(Coplas). The Coplas relate the Biblical story ofJoseph's enslavement at the hands of his brothers and later rise to power in Pharaoh's court (Genesis 37-50) using the cuaderna vía metrical form popular among Iberian clerics of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This edition of the Coplas, based on MS V (also the basis of Moshe Lazar's 1990 edition) includes a historical-literary and linguistic study, text, notes, appendices that include transliterations and Hebrew transcriptions of other witnesses (MS C -the basis for González Llubera's 1935 edition ofthe Coplas- printed fragments TSl, TS2, and TS3, and fragment P), as well as a bibliography and index of lexical items. This text gives us a glimpse of the variety of story-telling traditions circulating among Spanish-speaking Jews during the fourteenth century, including literary sources such as the Midrash and Bible as well as popular oral traditions. Girón-Negrón and Minervini show us how, in this version of the Josephine tale, the anonymous Judeo-Spanish author(s) supplement the Biblical story with elements from these and other sources, producing a tale offraternal betrayal followed by success in a foreign land that resonated with the Sephardim forced out of Spain in 1492. Girón-Negrón and Minervini's study of the ailtural context of this work (el "Estudio histórico-literario" 13-81) is one ofthe first to thoroughly investigate and speculate about what sort of post-Expulsion Judeo-Spanish cultural milieu produced Hebrew aljamiado texts such as the Coplas. While for the Coplas historical forces such as the Expulsion and Diaspora have unarguably erased many of the clues that other textual historians avail themselves of to locate the works they study, Girón-Negrón and Minervini nevertheless show how much information die physical manuscript and the text itself can yield to the astute codicologist, paleographer, linguist and literary scholar. Their historical-literary study begins with a detailed analysis of MS V (its colophons, hands, size and inscriptions) and examines the history of this codex as part of the fascinating Casa dei Neofiti, an institute forjudeoconversos established in 1543 at the urging of San Ignacio de Loyola designed to provide for the material and intellectual needs of New Christians (24). Minervini and GirónLa corónica 35.1 (Fall, 2006): 311-14 312ReviewsLa corónica 35.1, 2006 Negrón suggest that MS V may have been copied, either directly orvia another now lost intermediary copy, from a now lost printed version of Gershom Soncino (probably the "Gershon el nombrado" mentioned in the colophon included in MS V) whose existence is testified to in the TS fragments (87). After a comparison of the Josephine story as presented in the Coplas to that of the Bible and the Midrash, Girón-Negrón and Minervini turn to the nature of the work's cuaderna vía and what this might tell us about the anonymous author—this author who felt at home both in the Castilian language and literary forms ofthe moment and in the literary Hebrew ofthe Midrash and Pentateuch. The editors profitably revive the term Paloma Díaz Más first created to describe Shem Tob's Proverbios morales, "clerecía rabínica", in order to explain the genre to which the Coplas belong, as well as the breadth of knowledge and cultural formation possessed by its anonymous author, who, like Shem Tob, bridges two literary traditions, the Castilian and the Hebrew. Like the Christian clerics that composed in mester de clerecía, Shem Tob and the anonymous author ofthe Coplas share a similar intellectual formation, a fundamentally learned approach to poetry and its function, as well as a didactic vision of their own work (48). After positioning...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 311-313
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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