The author uses linguistic, ethnographic, and historical evidence to support his theory that the origins of Sephardic Jews are predominantly Berber and Arab.
Paul Wexler is Professor of Linguistics at Tel-Aviv University.
"This is a fascinating book based upon a wealth of diverse sources not usually brought together by scholars of Sephardic history. It is based upon the premise that Jewish languages such as Judeo-Arabic, Ladino, and Yiddish offer invaluable clues to ethnic origins.
"Wexler challenges the prevailing view that Sephardic Jewry did not have its genesis in Spain, but in North Africa, and that the Sephardic Jews were not descended from the ancient Judaeans, but were primarily the posterity of Berber proselytes. The author detects remnants of this North African Berber and Arab substrate in the language and culture of the Sephardic Jews. He marshals a dazzling array of historic, literary, ethnographic, and—most important—linguistic data in support of his highly original hypotheses." — Norman A. Stillman, Binghamton University