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David Abulafia, 31 October 1996

The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th-Century Spain 
by Benzion Netanyahu.
Random House, 1384 pp., $50, August 1995, 0 679 41065 1
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... as Bishop Alonso de Cartagena reiterated; and their leaders were reputedly of the stock of King David. To understand the fate of Jews and Muslims after 1250, in a period when virtually all of Spain except Granada was in Christian hands, it is essential to realise that there were two intellectual traditions at work, one home – grown, which tolerated the ...

Beasts or Brothers?

J.H. Elliott: When Columbus Met the Natives, 3 July 2008

The Discovery of Mankind: Atlantic Encounters in the Age of Columbus 
by David Abulafia.
Yale, 379 pp., £25, April 2008, 978 0 300 12582 5
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Hans Staden’s True History: An Account of Cannibal Captivity in Brazil 
edited and translated by Neil Whitehead and Michael Harbsmeier.
Duke, 206 pp., £12.99, September 2008, 978 0 8223 4231 1
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... David Abulafia ends his engaging survey of the first encounters between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of the New World with the words of the prophet Malachi: ‘Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us?’ This question, with its corollary, ‘Why do we deal treacherously, every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our forefathers?’ looms large in his book, just as it did in the minds of more thoughtful 16th-century Europeans as they became aware that the world was more diverse and more crowded than their forefathers could ever have imagined ...

Like Frogs around a Pond

Nigel McGilchrist: The Mediterranean, 22 March 2012

The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean 
by David Abulafia.
Allen Lane, 783 pp., £30, May 2011, 978 0 7139 9934 1
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... The title of David Abulafia’s magisterial book comes, as he reminds us, from a Hebrew blessing, to be recited when setting eyes on the Mediterranean: ‘Blessed are you, Lord our God, king of the Universe, who made the Great Sea.’ His book is a two-fold history: first of the trade and the traders who discovered the sea, created its ports and never ceased thereafter to animate it in pursuit of commerce ...

Herberts & Herbertinas

Rosemary Hill: Steven Runciman, 19 October 2016

Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman 
by Minoo Dinshaw.
Penguin, 767 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 241 00493 7
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... German invasion and thereby gather useful information, but in the event not much was achieved. As David Abulafia put it, if ‘he was something more than a professor of Byzantine studies … it would be absurd to cast him in the role of James Bond.’ In truth the war was enormously useful to him, allowing him to pursue his research. Afterwards he went ...

Jews’ Harps

Gabriel Josipovici, 4 February 1982

Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse 
by T. Carmi.
Penguin, 608 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 14 042197 1
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... Israeli poet), Yehuda Amichai, Leah Goldberg, Moshe Dor, Shlomo Viner, Dahlia Ravikovitch and David Vogel; Oxford have published Amichai and Carcanet Pagis; Tony Rudolf and Howard Schwarz have recently edited an enormous volume of modern Jewish poetry, which includes a 300-page section on Hebrew poetry.* All these, of course, are in English only. But some ...

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