Re: The Search for Sepharad - BBC Radio 3 #general

Judith Romney Wegner

Rosemary Wenzerul, in discussing the new BBC series on "Sepharad", wrote:

Dennis Marks, broadcaster and film maker, traces the path of the
Jews of the Iberian peninsual, who, having been expelled >from their
homeland, spread out all over the world, along the way providing a
wealth of culture which was adopted by their host communities.
The word 'Sepharad' is the ancient Hebrew word for Spain.
Well, not quite. An ancient Hebrew place-name "Sefarad" does appear
once in the bible (Obadiah 1:20); but scholars have pointed out that
in the biblical context, Sefarad did not mean Spain. It meant a
place in Asia Minor -- probably the place later known as Sardis.
Apparently Asia Minor is called " Saparda" (obviously the same word
as Sefarad in ancient Persian cuneiform manuscripts.

In Jewish culture, Sefarad came to mean Spain only in rabbinic times
--in fact, probably not before the early middle ages. (Before then,
Spain is referred to in rabbinic literature as Espania or Espamia.)

Judith Romney Wegner

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