Uriel Acosta

From Academic Kids

Uriel Acosta (15851640) was a philosopher from Portugal.

Acosta was born in Oporto, with the name Gabriel da Costa. His family was Jewish, but had converted to Catholicism. He convinced his family to convert back to Judaism and they had to move to Amsterdam. There (like Spinoza) he was persecuted by the Jewish authorities for his rationalist philosophical views. He published a book, Exemplar humanae vitae, in which he wrote about his experience as a victim of intolerance, and committed suicide.

Gutzkow's Uriel Acosta

The German writer Karl Gutzkow (1811–1878), in 1846, in the midst of the liberal milieu that led to the Revolutions of 1848 wrote a play about his life, entitled simply Uriel Acosta. This would later become the first classic play to be translated into Yiddish, and would long be a standard of Yiddish theater. The first translation into Yiddish was by Osip Mikhailovich Lerner, who staged the play at the Mariinski Theater in Odessa, Ukraine (then part of Imperial Russia) in 1881, shortly after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. Abraham Goldfaden rapidly followed with a rival production, an operetta, at Odessa's Remesleni Club, and Israel Rosenberg promptly followed with his own translation for a production in Łódź (now in Poland). Rosenberg's production starred Jacob Adler in the title role; the play would remain a signature piece in Adler's repertoire to the end of his stage career, the first of the several roles through which he developed the persona that he referred to as "the Grand Jew".

References

  • Adler, Jacob, A Life on the Stage: A Memoir, translated and with commentary by Lulla Rosenfeld, Knopf, New York, 1999, ISBN 067941351. 200 et. seq.


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