קונגרס העולמי ה-18 למדעי היהדות

The Languages of the Jewish Community of Pisa and the Digitization of its Archives


The official language of Kahal Kadosh or Nazione Ebrea of Pisa was Judeo-Portuguese; certain documents and books were also in Judeo-Spanish; Italian was used with the Tuscan authorities and in international business correspondence, but is also found in some internal documents: e.g. the Haskamot del Libro Nuovo (Pisa 12 de Menahem 5396) are written in Judeo-Spanish, with additions in Portuguese and interesting summaries in Italian. In the 18th century, some typical features of the local Judeo-Italian (bagitto) also begin to appear. The documents of the Archives of the Jewish Community of Pisa allow to integrate the statutes of the communities of Pisa and Livorno edited by Renzo Toaff (1990) with an administrative documentation, which concerns the everyday life of the community and can provide valuable information about changes from one language to another, or multilingualism within a single document.

In this framework the lecture will present

a) A census of the documents which are already digitised within the ASCEPI-project (Registro dei nati, morti e ballottati: Register of births, deaths and new members of the Jewish Nation; Atti criminali: Criminal acts), from the point of view of either the language or languages which are employed.

b) A first census, from the same point of view, of the registers of Zedacà, i.e. of the collection of alms, which are not yet digitised.

c) A detailed analysis of the Libro Entrada y Saida de nosa Escola 5483, which goes from the years 5483 (1722) to 5493 (1732).

The aim of the lecture is to demonstrate whether and how linguistic changes among different documents or within the same documents occur (with particular reference to the persistence of Hebrew forms in Romance languages contexts) on the basis of socio-cultural changes within the Jewish community or of symbolic needs.