Winner of the 2019 La corónica International Book Award:
S. J. Pearce
The Andalusi Literary and Intellectual Tradition:
The Role of Arabic in Judah ibn Tibbon’s Ethical Will (Indiana UP, 2017).
S.J. Pearce is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University, where her teaching and research focus on the intellectual history and literature of Jews, Christians and Muslims in medieval Spain. Her recently-published first book, The Andalusi Literary and Intellectual Tradition: The Role of Arabic in Judah ibn Tibbon’s Ethical Will, examines the ways in which Jewish intellectuals in thirteenth-century Spain and France understood Arabic to be a language of cultural prestige. She earned her PhD at Cornell University (Near Eastern Studies, 2011) and her BA at Yale (2005). During the 2018-2019 academic year, she was a fellow at the Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. Previously, she has held the Louis and Hortense Apfelbaum Fellowship at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the Paulette Goddard Junior Faculty Fellowship at NYU. Dr. Pearce is also the recipient of the 2014 John K. Walsh Award for an outstanding article published in La corónica (DOI: 10.1353/cor.2014.0027 ). The selection of the recipient of this award is made by the Executive Committee of the MLA Forum, LLC Medieval Iberian, in memory of distinguished medievalist John K. Walsh (1939-1990).
The Andalusi Literary and Intellectual Tradition is a literary and cultural history that takes as its point of departure Judah ibn Tibbon’s twelfth-century ethical will dedicated to his son, Samuel. It offers an overview of how the legacy of Andalusi culture (particularly book culture) passed into and survived in twelfth-century Europe and beyond, via the translations of Ibn Tibbons. It is a fascinating exploration of the ways in which books and knowledge are transmitted and shaped over time and across languages. Throughout the study, Prof. Pearce engages with primary sources in Hebrew and Arabic and with the thought of several modern scholars in various languages and schools of thought. Yet she manages to unpack these types of texts in such a way as to reveal a heretofore hidden treasure of hermeneutic clues that shed new light into the philosophy and praxis of cultural transmission. With The Andalusi Literary and Intellectual Tradition, Prof. Pearce demonstrates just how powerfully Arabic models informed Jewish literary production within Spain, and then beyond Spain itself, thereby connecting Iberian history to broader histories that cannot be fully comprehended without their Iberian ties.
For more information about the La corónica International Book Award, including past winners, please visit our Book Award page.