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Online resources

On Judeo-Persian 1

McCollum, Adam. 2015. On Judeo-Persian language and literature. Part One: State of the field. Ancient Jew Review.

In a two-part series, Dr. Adam McCollum addresses the possibilities for the field of Judeo-Persian language and literature. Part One addresses the state of the field and Part Two includes a helpful bibliography and four text samples.

You can find out more about Adam McCollum and his work over at his blog, hmmlorientalia, or at his highly recommended Twitter account: @adamcmccollum.

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Articles

In the margins of the Rabbinic curriculum

Kiel, Yishai . 2015. In the margins of the Rabbinic curriculum: Mastering ʿUqṣin in the light of Zoroastrian intellectual culture. Journal for the Study of Judaism  46( 2): 251 – 281.

The study situates the Babylonian rabbinic discussion concerning the spread of ritual pollution in produce in a broader cultural and intellectual context, by synoptically examining the rabbinic discussion against the backdrop of contemporaneous Zoroastrian legal discourse. It is suggested that the intimate affinity exhibited between the Babylonian rabbinic and Pahlavi discussions of produce contamination supports a fresh examination of the cultural significance of tractate ʿUqtzin in the Babylonian Talmud and the implications of its mastery on the intellectual and cultural identity of the Babylonian rabbis. The study posits that the self-reflective Talmudic reference to the knowledge and interest later generations of Babylonian rabbis possessed in tractate ʿUqtzin and the spread of ritual pollution in produce reflects the relative significance of these topics in the broader intellectual agenda of the Sasanian period. The later Babylonian rabbis boasted about their knowledge of tractate ʿUqtzin, which extended far beyond the capacity of earlier generations, precisely because this topic best reflected the intellectual currents of their time.

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Books

From Old to New Persian

Utas, Bo. 2013. From Old to New Persian: Collected essays (Beiträge Zur Iranistik 38). Edited by Carina Jahani & Mehrdad Fallahzadeh. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

In a long series of essays, written during almost half a century, Bo Utas analyses the development of West Iranian languages, particularly Old, Middle, and New Persian, from various perspectives. The focus is placed on the transition from Middle to New Persian and the final essays (hitherto partly unpublished) especially elucidate this process in the light of an interaction between oral and written language.
This book is the second volume of collected articles by Bo Utas. The first volume, Manuscript, Text and Literature. Collected Essays on Middle and New Persian Texts, was published on the occasion of his 70th birthday as no. 29 in the series Beiträge zur Iranistik in 2008.
The seventeen articles in the present volume cover a time span of about 2,500 years and encompass all the stages of Persian. It also contains two entirely new articles, “The Grammatical Transition from Middle to New Persian” and “Between Spoken and Written: The Formation of New Persian”, which sum up much of Bo Utas’ philological research.

For more information, see the preface to this volume and the ToC.

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Articles Journal

Review: The Iranian Talmud

Herman, Geoffrey. 2015. Review of Secunda, Shai. 2014. The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in its Sasanian context. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. AJS Review 39(1), 170–173.

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Events

Learning from the Magi

Religious Studies presents: “Learning from the Magi: Zoroastrianism and the New Movement in Talmud Study” with Shai Secunda | Taube Center for Jewish Studies

Friday, May 15, 2015 – 12:15pm – 1:30pm

The lecture is part of a Zoroastrianism Studies Lecture Series sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University. For questions about the series, please contact Dr. Yuhan Vevaina (vevaina@stanford.edu).

Source: Religious Studies presents: “Learning from the Magi: Zoroastrianism and the New Movement in Talmud Study” with Shai Secunda | Taube Center for Jewish Studies

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Books

Encounters by the rivers of Babylon

Gabbay, Uri & Shai Secunda (eds.). 2015. Encounters by the rivers of Babylon: Scholarly conversations between Jews, Iranians and Babylonians in antiquity (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 160). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

This volume presents a group of articles that deal with connections between ancient Babylonian, Iranian and Jewish communities in Mesopotamia under Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid, and Sasanian rule. The studies, written by leading scholars in the fields of Assyriology, Iranian studies and Jewish studies, examine various modes of cultural connections between these societies, such as historical, social, legal, and exegetical intersections. The various Mesopotamian connections, often neglected in the study of ancient Judaism, are the focus of this truly interdisciplinary collection.

 

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Books

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.
Categories
Books

A grammar of early Judaeo-Persian

Paul, Ludwig. 2013. A grammar of early Judaeo-Persian. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.
Early Judaeo-Persian (EJP) is the form of Persian that was spoken by Jews, and written in Hebrew script, in ca. the 8th-12th centuries C.E. Most EJP manuscripts have been found in the Cairo Geniza from the late 19th century onwards. Since the dialectal basis of EJP is different from the Early New Persian (written in Arabic script) that was spoken in north-east Iran at the same time, the study of EJP is essential for an understanding of the development of New Persian. So far, only isolated grammatical features of EJP have been studied. The present work is the first attempt at a comprehensive description of EJP grammar in its own right, based on the study of the most important EJP texts, published and unpublished.
For more information, see the ToC and the preface to this vollume. You can also download and read a sample chapter of this book.
 About the Editor:
Ludwig Paul is professor of Iranian Studies at the Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg. He is a scholar of Iranian Linguistic, dialektology as well as Iranian modern history.
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Articles

Religious transformation between East and West

Herman, Geoffrey. 2014. Religious transformation between East and West: Hanukkah in the Babylonian Talmud and Zoroastrianism. In Wick, Peter & Volker Rabens (eds.), Religions and trade: Religious formation, transformation and cross-cultural exchange between East and West, 261–281. Leiden: Brill.

When religious traditions travel they tend to adapt to their new surroundings. Like new products seeking to penetrate a foreign market, they often undergo a process of modification and re-packaging that makes them comprehensible and inviting to their potential clientele. This can often be a subconscious process whereby the elements in the imported tradition that evoke more familiar local practices rise to prominence and develop further whereas others sink into the background. This article seeks to account for the development of the ritual observance of the festival of Hanukah, a festival that was brought from Judaea to Babylonia. It pinpoints the holiday’s evolution upon its reception in Babylonia. Observing similarities in ritual between the receiving community – Babylonian Jewry, and the prevalent practices found among the Zoroastrians of the region it suggests a connection between the two. This connection intimates that the ritual celebration of Hanukkah was radically and fundamentally transformed in its new religious environment as a result of its encounter with local religious custom.

Find the article here.

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Articles

Iranian Jewry in late antiquity

Pourshariati’s new article appears in Sarshar (2014). I have already  posted the bibliographic note for the volume, but want to highlight this article separately, as it relates to late antiquity:

Pourshariati, Parvaneh. 2014. New vistas on the history of Iranian Jewry in late antiquity, Part I: Patterns of Jewish settlement in Iran. In Houman Sarshar (ed.), The Jews of Iran, 1–32. London: I.B. Tauris.

Read the article here.