Sharonah is an internationally known lecturer on Judeo-Spanish literature and Native American literature and history. She teaches and publishes in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew, and is currently working on her PHd dissertation at SUNY, NY.
Lilith and World Mythology
Lilith and other seductresses of world mythology will be analyzed in terms of their portrayal of the female persona throughout history. Lilith, the prototypical Jewish “she-vampire”, is actually a complex composite of Babylonian, ancient Jewish, Moroccan, and finally medieval Christian and Muslim, cosmology. Variants of the Lilth legend have even been found in the New World, where they assumed American Indian characteristics. What is the appeal of Lilith, and what are her roots in written and oral Jewish folklore?
King Arthur and King David/Parallels and Coincidences
The influence of the Old Testament on medieval Christian texts is immense; via two of the best known examples, we will examine that connection. King Arthur and King David are two semi-historical, semi-mythical characters, and the Jewish components of the King David story reappeared again in medieval Christian renderings of King Arthur. By taking apart the narrative structure and organizing both the supernatural and real elements, we will see how Jewish texts influenced European courtly legends.
Secret Jews in the Mountains of Peru
Written in the legends of the Spanish Inquisition, as well as controversial Renaissance Jewish texts from the New World, are stories of isolated Jewish communities in the Andes, supposedly existing before the Spanish Conquest. Truth or invention? A combination of hearsay, Inquisition era anti-Semistism, and colonial persecution of the Native Peoples of the Americas gave rise to stories which culminated in the strange case of Antonio Montesinos, in the mid 17th century, who supposedly discovered a tribe of “Jewish Indians” living in the Andean region. The origins of the story, as well as their socio-political implications, will be dealt with in an attempt to understand myth as social commentary.