Prisoners of hope: On a Hebrew baroque drama

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This article deals with the historical and literary significance of the allegorical Hebrew drama Prisoners of Hope (Prisioneros de la Esperanza) of Yosef Penso de la Vega, which was printed in Amsterdam in 1673. It focuses on the affinity of this play to the Spanish auto sacramental plays, spread in the Iberian Peninsula during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and characterizes it as an adaptation of the dramatic model associated profoundly with the sacrament of the Eucharist and the Counter-Reformation for the Jewish and Hebrew writing space. It discusses the dramatic features of the play such as prosopopoeia, the structure of the plot, the constellation of the figures, and the existence of a psychomachic level in their linkage to the dramatic characteristics of the auto sacramental play. The article suggests that this play is a unique literary and historical document, the appearance of which signifies a peak of acculturation in a unique cultural and historical setting-namely, the reconversion into Judaism of Iberian Jews in the northern Protestant lands. The aim of the article is to delve into this acculturation and its aesthetic and ethical significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-509
Number of pages31
JournalProoftexts - Journal of Jewish Literature History
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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