The Intellectual Heritage of Iranian Jews in Judeo-Persian

Recorded: May 6, 2022
Event: Bilingual Lecture Series

by Nahid Pirnazar (UCLA)

Judeo-Persian Writings, an original comprehensive collection published in 2021, gives parallel examples in Judeo-Persian and Perso-Arabic script and their translations into English. Most Judeo-Persian documents not only reflect the twenty-seven centuries of Jewish life in Iran, but they are also a testament to their intellectual, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions. The significant value of such documents is found in the areas of linguistics, history, sociocultural and literary issues, in the form of verse and prose. As an example, Ketāb-e Anūsi, The Book of the Forced Converts, was compiled by three poets, Bābāi’ Ben Loṭf, Bābāi’ Ben Farhād and Mashiah ben Rephael. This historical narrative, transliterated from Judeo-Pasian to Perso-Arabic script in 2021, reports about the forced conversions and the events relevant to Iranian Jewish communities that took place during the period of Shah Abbas I of the Safavid, through the rise of the Afsharid period (1613-1730).