This essay explores the ways in which Abraham Shalom Yahuda (1877–1951) mobilizes Arabo-Islamic culture for the construction of Hebrew culture as manifested in his writings that treat Arabic literature. The essay's argument comprises two parts: first, that Yahuda's production of Arabic poetical literature endeavored to familiarize Jewish communities, in particular European Jews, with Arabic culture. As such, I argue that Yahuda did not Hebraize Arabic poetical texts nor he Judaize Arab figures that he treated. Rather, he preserved essential characteristics that were intended to acquaint European Jews with the otherness of Arabs and simultaneously with the Jewish self. Second, Yahuda's efforts also sought to draw a connection between contemporary Jews and their "Israelite brethren"—in Yahuda's words—as Yahuda concurrently urged his Hebrew-reading audience to embrace spiritual and moral values that characterized the Jewish forefathers. Prominent Arab figures, particularly poets, represented the perfect example to transmit moral values that Jews needed in order to restore their relation with the land of their ancestors. In advocating for embracing moral values such as bravery, loyalty, and hospitality, Yahuda's noble Arabs and heroes represented the Orientalism of Arabic culture and its relevance to the Jews of his time, highlighting the common denominators between Arabs and Israelites.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 464-469
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.