Jewish Writers Between Arabic and Hebrew: In search of Arab – Jewish modern literary form

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Almog Behar


The intertwined connections between Hebrew and Arabic stood for many generations at the center of Jewish literature, and shaped literary tendencies, perceptions of identity, and sometimes also theological influences. This bidirectional movement underwent great changes over the centuries, yet continuously remained central to all Jewish communities in the Arab world, through secular and religious works in Judeo – Arabic, in Hebrew as well as in translations between languages.

In this paper I wish to explore several formative moments of Jewish writing between Hebrew and Arabic, be it Bi – lingual writing or translation, literary Arabic or Judeo – Arabic, Rabbinic Hebrew or Israeli Hebrew, Middle ages or Modern, pre – 1948 or post – 1948, and I will ask how these writing stands in connection with questions of Literary traditions, and what these writing suggest poetically, linguistically and in terms of identity. I will further explore how transitions and translation between languages are connected to questions of religiosity, secularization and Orientalism, migration, exile and nationalism, as well as formulations of national, ethnic, class and gender identities.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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