Maír José Benardete
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Maír José Benardete (1895 in Dardanelles, Turkey – 1989 in United States) was a scholar of Sephardic studies and was a long-time Professor of Spanish and Sephardic Studies at Brooklyn College. He was also a past Director of Columbia University's Hispanic Institute's Sephardic Studies Section (Seccion de Estudios Sefardies) in the late 1920s. The Institute was also known as Casa Hispanica.
Benardete was born in the Ottoman Empire, in the city of Çanakkale, in Dardanalles, Turkey. He was the eldest of nine children, and came from a Ladino-speaking family. At the age of eight, he contracted a serious illness that left him unable to walk for months. He spent his year-long convalescence among the Sephardic women of his community, absorbing the Judeo-Spanish folklore and language that would later serve him well in his career as a Sephardic scholar. In 1910, Benadrete immigrated to the United States, to live with an uncle living in Cincinnati. Mair also went by the names Mair José Benardete; Mair José Benadrete; M. J. Benadete; Meyer Benardete; and Mercedes Benardete. He produced two academically-successful sons; Seth Benardete, who was an American classicist and philosopher, and José Benardete, who was also a notable philosopher. Mair's wife was a professor in the English department at Brooklyn College.
Under Benadrete's direction, the Sephardic Section of Casa Hispanica hosted or sponsored lectures on Sephardic civilization, generated articles for the institute's "Revista Hispanica Moderna,", published a Ladino/Spanish commemorative volume on the medieval Spanish-Jewish poet, Yehuda Halevi, and staged dramatic performances in Judeo Spanish. Benadrete's doctoral dissertation was entitled "Hispanic Culture and Character of the Sephardic Jews," was first published by the Hispanic Institute in 1953. In 1962, two Sephardic activists, named Louis N. Levy and David N. Barocas published "Studies in Honor of M.J. Benadrete."
- Mair Jose Benadrete Biography
- Aviva Ben-Ur. "" Benardete, Maír José." Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World". Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- Aviva Ben-Ur. "Benardete, Mair Jose". Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- Harvey C. Mansfield. "Seth Benardete, 1930-2001 (originally published in The Weekly Standard) (November 27, 2001".
- Ronna Burger. "Benardete: A Biographical Sketch". Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- [Studies in Honor of M. J. Benardete. Essays in Hispanic and Sephardic Culture, ed. Izaak A. Langnas and Barton Sholod, Las Americas Publishing Co., New York 1965).]
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