What is SFORNO about?
- Title: Between two worlds: The tractate "Light of the Nations" of ‘Ovadyah Sforno (ca. 1475-1550)
- Time Span: 2015 - 2021
- Sponsor: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
- Director: Prof. Giuseppe Veltri
- Associates: Giada Coppola, Florian Dunklau
At the core of this project is the philosophical work 'Or Ammim by Ovadyah Sforno (1475?-1550) ("Light of the Nations", first print: Bologna 1537). Although he is known as one of the most eminent Biblical commentators, Sforno’s philosophical works have remained largely unnoticed. He is considered the last Hebrew scholar to have produced a book on central questions of medieval religious philosophy written in the classical form of a scholastic 'Summa'. His work attempts to defend Jewish dogmas against Aristotelian-Averroist arguments, thereby setting Judaism on a rational footing. Sforno is an example of cultural intermediation in the Italian Renaissance. He gained a doctorate in medicine at a Christian university, and self-translated his work into Latin in order to make it accessible to his Christian colleagues ("Lumen Gentium" (first print: Bologna 1548)).
The project aims to produce both a new Hebrew critical edition “The Light”, based on the original print and a previously unknown unique autograph manuscript, and the first scientific edition of the author’s own remarkable Latin translation. Both versions will be translated into English for the first time, making the whole work accessible to the respective academic audience, i.e. scholars in Jewish Studies, Latin Studies, Renaissance Studies, Philosophy and Theology. A lexicographical analysis of the ways in which Sforno uses terminology in both works will shed light on the development of the Hebrew scientific and philosophic language, thereby contributing a comparative study to the intercultural phenomenon of the translation movement from Hebrew to Latin and Latin to Hebrew. A commentary to the work will contextualise and give insights into Sforno’s thinking in the light of General (Greek, Latin and Arabic-Islamic) and Jewish philosophy. Finally, much of the project will focus on the relationship of this work to the author’s exegetical writings, which are marked by his method of rational and philosophical reasoning.
The outcome will be a comprehensive two-volume edition that will add a crucial but neglected aspect to our knowledge of this influential Jewish exegete and philosopher of the early modern period.
Recordings of lectures are online here.
First Symposium: Lost & Found in Translation - Obadiah Sforno and his World
Between Two Worlds: The tractate “Or ´Ammim” (Light of the Nations) of the Last Jewish Scholastic Philosopher Obadiah Sforno in its Hebrew and Latin Versions is a project funded by the DFG. The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Prof. h.c. Giuseppe Veltri. and Prof. Dr. Saverio Campanini (University of Bologna) who are joined by two Research Associates, Giada Coppola and Florian Dunklau.
The philosopher-theologian, Obadiah Sforno, wrote a scholastic work entitled Or ‘Ammim (Light of the Nations). Sforno translated his own work into Latin, with the title Lumen Gentium, in order to make it accessible to a Christian Humanist readership. His book represents a distinguished Summa of philosophical and scientific concepts flourishing in the Jewish, Scholastic and Islamic traditions of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Light of the Nations is an outstanding testament to the intercultural exchange between Christian and Jewish scholars of Renaissance Italian Aristotelianism.
The first symposium, Lost & Found in Translation - Obadiah Sforno and his world, will investigate particular aspects of Sforno’s thought as a self-translator, his Exegesis and his environment, and will also consider the relationship between Sforno and his contemporaries.
10.00 am Registration
10.30 am Greetings Giuseppe Veltri
10.45 am Opening remark and Presentation:
Florian Dunklau: Project Sforno
11.45 am Introductory lecture:
Giuseppe Veltri / Giada Coppola: Lost in Translation
2.30 pm PANEL 1:
Obadiah Sforno’s Environment - Chair: Florian Dunklau
Roman Holiday. Conjectures on Johannes Reuchlin as a Pupil of Obadiah Sforno
Sforno on Wealth, Work and Charity
4.30 pm WORKSHOP:
Giada Coppola, Daniel Davies, Florian Dunklau, Michael Engel, Giuseppe Veltri
9.00 am PANEL 2:
Self-translating and philosophy, chair: Daniel Davies
Michael Engel / Giovanni Licata
The De Substantia Orbis within the Jewish Philosophical Tradition: Narboni, Del Medigo & Sforno
“A fourth kind of being”: The Legacy of Averroes in : Obadiah Sforno’s Theory of the Intellect
11.00 am PANEL 3
Philosophy and Exegesis, chair: Giuseppe Veltri
The quaestio disputata in Judah Messer Leon (1475) and Obadiah Sforno (1537):
similarities and differences
Rav. Joseph Levi
Sforno’s Perception of Human Potential Knowledge
and Moral Responsibility of Both Gentiles and Jews
Rav. Moshé Kravetz
The footprints and influence of Or ´Ammim in Sforno’s exegetic works
13.00 pm CONCLUSION / FINAL DISCUSSION
Giuseppe Veltri / Saverio Campanini
For further information please contact: sforno.philosophie"AT"uni-hamburg.de
For a poster containing all information for the symposium, please klick here.