The Delta


While there has been a great deal of investigation into the sources of Arthurian legend, much of this has centered around the influence of Celtic legends and has depended upon a strictly Christian catalogue of comparative imagery. Many of the tales of Arthur contain allusions, however, to Jewish biblical commentaries and legends. These connections demonstrate the presence of a strong Jewish influence upon the development of medieval Arthurian romances. Critic Sarah Roche-Mahdi writes that Heldris of Cornwall, the name used by the author of Le Roman de Silence, "delights in turning and twisting a word, in lifting a phrase, passage, motif, plot from its context, reversing, expanding or purposefully suppressing it" (7). Heldris makes significant use of Jewish source materials in this process.