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Current Issue Article Abstracts

Spring 2018, Vol. 108.2

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Articles

 

The Temple Scroll in the Context of Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman Scholarly Texts

Francis Borchardt

pp. 139-158

This article examines the language of three distinct prominent Eastern European Hebrew       textual corpora, namely the Kitsur shul@han ‘arukh, the Hasidic hagiographic tale, and Maskilic fiction. It demonstrates that despite their authors’ divergent ideological and religio- cultural stances, each of the three corpora exhibits striking similarities in their use of particular morphosyntactic features which are regarded as non-standard vis-à-vis earlier canonical forms of the language. These features include the use of prepositions in conjunction with the definite article; non-standard noun gender; definite construct nouns; doubly definite construct chains; avoidance of the dual in conjunction with time words and numerals; and feminine numerals modifying masculine nouns. These similarities suggest that the the Kitsur shul@han ‘arukh, Hasidic tale, and Maskilic fiction are all constituents of a more widespread Ashkenazic form of the language with shared grammatical characteristics which have not yet been systematically documented. By highlighting these shared features and placing them within their broader linguistic context, the article seeks to contribute to a clearer understanding of Ashkenazic Hebrew and redress the scholarly inattention to this important form of the language.

 

The Kitsur shulḥan ‘arukh, Hasidic Tale, and Maskilic Literature as Exemplars of Ashkenazic Hebrew

Lily Okalani Kahn

pp. 159-193

This article examines the language of three distinct prominent Eastern European Hebrew textual corpora, namely the Kitsur shul@han ‘arukh, the Hasidic hagiographic tale, and Maskilic fiction. It demonstrates that despite their authors’ divergent ideological and religio- cultural stances, each of the three corpora exhibits striking similarities in their use of particular morphosyntactic features which are regarded as non-standard vis-à-vis earlier canonical forms of the language. These features include the use of prepositions in conjunction with the definite article; non-standard noun gender; definite construct nouns; doubly definite construct chains; avoidance of the dual in conjunction with time words and numerals; and feminine numerals modifying masculine nouns. These similarities suggest that the the Kitsur shul@han ‘arukh, Hasidic tale, and Maskilic fiction are all constituents of a more widespread Ashkenazic form of the language with shared grammatical characteristics which have not yet been systematically documented. By highlighting these shared features and placing them within their broader linguistic context, the article seeks to contribute to a clearer understanding of Ashkenazic Hebrew and redress the scholarly inattention to this important form of the language.

 

“Your Father’s Interests”: The Business of Kinship in a Trans-Mediterranean Jewish Merchant Family, 1776–1790

Francesca Bregoli

pp. 194-224

Although kinship ties are understood to have been crucial for the functioning of Jewish diasporic trade, familiarity and affective bonds are the very elements that are strained by diasporic separation: how did merchant households maintain a sense of ongoing familiarity and obligation once family members were physically separated? Attention to the emotional discourse found in merchant letters can reorient our thinking on how Jewish family ties were preserved and restructured over time and on the strategies that traders used to supervise distant relatives. This article, based primarily on the correspondence (1776-1790) of Tunis-based Italian Jewish merchant Joseph Franchetti, traces the strategies through which a father and head partner in a trading company attempted to educate, socialize, and monitor his sons stationed in Livorno and Smyrna. Three main themes are discussed: values of mercantile masculinity and the reliance on surrogate Jewish father and brother figures to monitor young men’s behaviors; the ideal role of Judaism in promoting economic success and attendant anxieties concerning moral and financial ruin; and the overlap between love and material interests that shaped ideas of legitimate kinship.

Oppression of Religious Minority Groups in Times of Great Upheaval in Late Qajar Iran: The 1892 Persecution of Jews and Baha’is of Jewish Origin in Hamadan Based on Two Newly Discovered Letters

Soli Shahvar

pp. 225-251

1892 witnessed great upheavals in Iran, such as the widespread protests against the Tobacco Concession and one of the worst plagues that inflicted the country during the 19th century. In that year also a persecution of the communities of Jews and Baha’is of Jewish origin took place in Hamadan. This persecution, led by a certain Shi‘i cleric by the name of Mulla ‘Abdullah Burujirdi, involved not only arrests and beatings of the leaders of those communities, but also forced conversion as well as the revival of some harsh measures from the Safavid period against the Jews. Based on a number of related documents in English, Persian, and Judeo-Persian, the article not only sheds some new light on the causes and dynamics of this persecution, but also reveals an example of the weakness of the central and local authorities, the power and influence of the Shi‘i clerics, and the helplessness of the religious minorities. The essays shows the relevance of Jewish and Baha’i sources not only for the study of each other, but also for those of the local and national history of Iran.

 

Is Critique Jewish?

Martin Kavka