Donato Manduzio's Diary, from Church to Synagogue
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 7 במרץ 2017 - 285 עמודים
Donato Manduzio was an illiterate Southern Italian peasant who only learned how to read and write at the age of thirty-two, while convalescing from a wound during the First World War. His subsequent reading of Scripture and the visions he experienced led him to turn to Judaism and to seek an official conversion for himself and seventy-odd followers. For twelve of the sixteen-year-long process, Manduzio wrote about his experiences. Although some excerpts from the Diary have been translated, the manuscript has remained unpublished either in Italian or in any other language up to this day.
This book translates the full text of Manduzio’s Diary from the original Italian into English, making it available at last to a wider public. After providing a social and historical framework for the trajectory of this remarkable man, it retraces Manduzio’s mystical visions and spiritual development, as well as his struggle to create and maintain a Jewish community in a remote corner of Apulia at a time when Fascism was taking hold of Italy. It also shows how the text fits in the context of religious conversion narratives and of literary studies, thus shedding a fresh and fascinating light on the subject.
This book will be of interest to specialists of autobiography, Jewish studies, Italian studies, and cultural studies. The Diary’s literary qualities and riveting story-telling will also make it a must-read for general audiences.