The Bibliographical Centre “Tullia Zevi” – UCEI

The UCEI, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, and its Bibliographical Centre “Tullia Zevi” are among the partners of our forthcoming conference, Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context (Rome, January 20-22, 2019).

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The Bibliographical Centre was conceived in the 1980s on Tullia Zevi’s initiative  (at that time President of the UCEI) and started functioning since 1990. Its main purpose is to rescue, gather, preserve and promote books, manuscripts and archival documents related to Italian Judaism and promote Jewish Culture. By establishing a centralised national centre, it aims to avoid the decay and the dispersion of such items.

The Bibliographical Centre hosts a BA in Jewish Studies run by the UCEI, fosters exhibitions, musical and pedagogical seminars, book launches and scholarly conferences on topics related to Judaism in all its multifaceted dimensions. Furthermore, the Bibliographical Centre actively supports researchers in fields such as the millennial Jewish presence in Italy, the Italian Risorgimento and the Italian Racial Laws.

The Bibliographical Centre is composed by four sub-sections. Archives: in addition to several personal archives and other special collections, this sub-section preserves the archives of the Communities of Pitigliano  (XVII-XX centuries) and Senigallia (XVI-XX centuries) together with a collection of ketubboth once of the Communities of Senigallia and Ancona (searchable here: http://archiviostorico.ucei.it/ucei-web/)Library: more than 25,000 either old (XVI-XIX centuries) or early modern and modern books (including some manuscripts) originally owned by the Communities of Pitigliano, Pisa, Ferrara, Mantova and Siena (beside the Florence ones after the 1966 flood); over 15,000 items belonged to the Italian Rabbinical College and have been rescued by the Allies after the 1943 Nazi pillage (the modern collection is searchable here). Photographic collection: a unique collection of photographs, especially from the 1930s and 1950s, concerning the inner life of the Italian Jewish communities; an archive of more than 5,000 diapositives of places and objects of Jewish interest. A small Music collection hosts several liturgical recordings (synagogue chants according to the old rite of some of the Italian Jewish communities).

The Bibliographical Centre is open to visitors from Monday to Thursday.

For info: biblioteca.cb@ucei.it

 

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Early Modern Italian Jewish Ghetto Archive at Johns Hopkins

A couple of years ago, the Special Collections of the Sheridan Libraries Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University acquired a fascinating archive of printed and scribal material relating mainly to the Jewish community in Ferrara in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. We will have a look at this material in May for the second conference of our project. For a short presentation of the collection click here.

Many thanks to the Virginia Fox Stern Center for the History of the Book in the Renaissance and the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center of the Sheridan Libraries (Johns Hopkins University) for having co-sponsored the conference on State Building and Minorities: Jews in Italy (College Park and Baltimore, May 5–7, 2019).early modern italian jewish ghetto archive at johns hopkins

Letter sent from Constantinople to Rome about the new Messiah of the Jews

Our flyer for the conference on “Sabbateanism in the Mediterranean” features the frontispiece image from a pamphlet published in Italy in 1667: Lettera mandata da Costantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia degli Ebrei (Siena, Bologna 1667).

This “Letter sent from Constantinople to Rome about the new Messiah of the Jews” was published in multiple editions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In 1667, the text of this letter was twice translated in Portuguese.

If you want to know more about the many early modern Italian reports on Sabbatai Zvi see: Stefano Villani, “Between Information and Proselytism: Seventeenth-Century Italian Texts on Sabbatai Zevi, their Various Editions and their Circulation, in Print and Manuscript,” in DAAT: A Journal of Jewish Philosophy & Kabbalah 82 (2016), LXXXVII-CIII (on-line on Academia and on Research Gate).

On the Portuguese translations see José Alberto Rodrigues da Silva Tavim, “Revisitando uma carta em português sobre Sabbatai Zvi,” in Sefarad, 67 (2007), 155-190.

This is a list of the known Italian editions of the “Letter sent from Constantinople to Rome about the new Messiah of the Jews”:

1) Lettera mandata da Costantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia de gli Ebrei, Siena e Bologna, per Giacomo Monti, 1667. A copy is preserved in the Hebrew Union College Library of Cincinnati.

2) Lettera mandata da Constantinopoli a Roma Intorno al nuovo Messia degli Hebrei, Ronciglione, 1667, 7[ma 8] p., 4°. Copies are preserved in Lucca: B.ta 590.15 and in the Ajuda-Biblioteca Nacional, Lisbona, códice 50- V-36.

3) Lettera mandata da Constantinopoli a Roma dal Residente d’Olanda ad un suo Amico, Intorno al nuovo Messia de gl’Hebrei, Roma, Firenze e Lucca, 1667. A copy is preserved in the National Archives of London, SP 120/116.

4) Relatione curiosissima, & insieme verissima del strano successo del preteso messia degli hebrei, il quale cagiono tanta commotione in quella natione, e termino poi con farsi turco. Aggiontoui vnaltro fatto simile, suceduto poco doppo, Venetia, 1694. Copies are preserved in the Biblioteca del Seminario Teologico of Trento (ggYm 1. 2.7), and in the Biblioteca Marciana of Venice (3 D 297/5).

5) Relatione curiosissima, et insieme verissima del strano successo del preteso Messia degli Hebrei, il quale cagiono tanta commotione in quella natione e termino poi col farsi turco. Lettera mandata da Costantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia degli Hebrei dal padre Beccaranda Giesuita, Venezia & Padova, per il Sardi, 1731. A copy is preserved in the Marciana Library of Venice (MISC 1732/13).

6) Relazione curiosissima ed insieme verissima del strano successo del preteso Messia degli Ebrei, il quale cagionò tanta commozione in quella Nazione e terminò poi con farsi turco. Lettera mandata di Constantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia degli Ebrei, dal Padre Beccaranda, Gesuita, Venezia ed Parma, Gozzi. A copy is preserved in the Archivio della Comunità ebraica of Mantua filza 109, cartella 51.