Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

What’s in a Name? An Onomastic Interpretation of a Sephardic Folk Tale

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (7), 683–694.


Judeo-Spanish language and literature are often studied in order to better understand the history of Castilian. However, as part of the Jewish literary sphere, Judeo-Spanish texts can be studied through the use of Jewish tools, which are uncommon in Hispanic Studies. In this paper I explain one exegetical approach often used in the study of the Talmud and Torah to better understand Jewish proper names by analysing their Hebrew origins. I then demonstrate how this technique can better inform the reading of a modern Judeo-Spanish folk tale.

Muchos filólogos consideran la lengua y la literatura judeoespañolas como fuentes para estudiar la historia del castellano. Sin embargo, consideramos que los textos judeoespañoles se podrían estudiar como elementos del corpus literario judío y por tanto mediante técnicas de análisis idiosincrásicas de la cultura judía, las cuales rara vez se consideran dentro del campo de los estudios hispánicos. En este ensayo proponemos un acercamiento exegético tradicional al estudio del Talmud y de la Torá que considera los orígenes hebreos de los nombres propios judíos. Con este estudio intentamos demostrar cómo esta técnica profundiza la lectura de un cuento tradicional judeoespañol del siglo XX.

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