Tag Archives: Iranian Jews

A Jewish Convert to Imāmī Šīʿism

Halft, Dennis. 2017. Ismāʿīl Qazvīnī: A twelfth/eighteenth-century Jewish convert to Imāmī Šīʿism and his critique of Ibn Ezra’s commentary on the four kingdoms (Daniel 2:31-45). In Miriam Lindgren Hjälm (ed.), Senses of scripture, treasures of tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims (Biblia Arabica 5), 280–304. Leiden: Brill.

Abstract of the article:

This study explores the previously unstudied anti-Jewish Persian polemic Anbāʾ al-anbiyāʾ by the Jewish convert to Twelver Šīʿī Islam, Ismāʿīl Qazvīnī, the father of Ḥāǧǧī Bābā Qazvīnī Yazdī. It examines Ismāʿīl Qazvīnī’s discussion of a medieval Jewish controversy concerning the four-kingdom schema in the book of Daniel and Ibn Ezra’s interpretation of the dream-vision in favor of Islam as the fourth kingdom. The study shows that Ismāʿīl Qazvīnī, besides his reference to Muslim works in Persian, relied on different (partly printed) Jewish textual sources in the original Hebrew and Aramaic (Miqraʾot Gedolot, Neḇuʾat ha-yeled, Sefer haš-šorašim, Sefer Josippon), from which he quoted in his own Persian translation/adaptation. He thus made internal Jewish debates accessible to native Muslim scholars, such as Mullā ʿAlī Nūrī, who borrowed from Anbāʾ al-anbiyāʾ. Ismāʿīl Qazvīnī was a cross-cultural intermediary and go-between who expanded the traditional range of Šīʿī polemical arguments against Judaism in pre-modern Iran.

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Iranian Jews in Israel

Cecolin, Alessandra. 2015.Iranian Jews in Israel: Between Persian Cultural Identity and Israeli Nationalism. (Library of Modern Middle East Studies). London: I.B. Tauris.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, more than 40,000 Iranian Jews have moved to Israel, with the last big wave arriving after the Iranian Revolution of 1978/79. As the governments of these two states continue to display animosity towards each other, an examination of the Jews of Iran who now live in Israel provides important insights into the nature of the relationship between these two key countries in the Middle East. Alessandra Cecolin combines a historical approach to the patterns of Iranian Jewish emigration to Israel with a political analysis of Iranian-Israeli relations, exploring how the political and diplomatic interactions between the two have shaped the processes of emigration and integration of Iranian Jewry in Israel. In this book she explores how this community is often caught between a Persian cultural identity and Israeli nationality, and draws out the implications this has both for the community in Israel and for the wider region.
About the Ahuthor
Alessandra Cecolin (PhD 2013) is a scholar of Jewish history in the Department of History, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Judeo-Persian manuscripts in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Moreen, Vera Basch (ed.). 2015. Catalogue of Judeo-Persian manuscripts in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Études Sur Le Judaïsme Médiéval 63). Leiden/Boston: Brill.
The intellectual legacy of the ancient community of Iranian Jews rests in several large but neglected Judeo-Persian manuscript collections. The largest in the West, and the third largest collection in the world (198 manuscripts), belongs to the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York. Primarily a work of reference, this Catalog informs scholars in the fields of Judaica and Iranica about the range of subjects (history, poetry, medicine, philology, etc.) that engaged Iranian Jews between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. It reflects the intellectual parameters of Iranian Jewry by describing the extent to which they were acquainted with classical Jewish texts while they were deeply enmeshed in the literary and artistic sensibilities of their Iranian environment.

About the Author:

Vera Basch Moreen, Ph.D. (1978), Harvard University, is an Independent Scholars who has taught Islam and Judaism Islam at several colleges. She specializes in the history and culture of Jews in the Muslim world, primarily Iran. In Queen Esther’s Garden: An Anthology of Judeo-Persian Literature (New Haven, 2000) is among her many publications.