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The Ma‘asé-Ester, “Esther’s affairs”, is a 14th-century Judeo-Provençal poem on the story of Esther, intended for a recital during the banquet for Purim.
The short poem – recently discovered in the single manuscript that preserves it – is a new precious document that enriches a small corpus of medieval Judeo-Provençal texts. This book offers the first critical edition of the complete text accompanied by a detailed study of the sources and the language. It guides us in understanding why the story of Esther became such a popular theme in 14th-century Provence, and in what way the Avignon Papacy and the studies on Moses Maimonides influenced this literary novelty.


Sometimes, in the Commedia dell’arte, Jewish characters who speak Judeo-Italian appear on the stage, revealing a strong intention on the part of non-Jewish authors to mimic the language spoken by contemporary Jews. Therefore, the study of these external sources is very useful to enrich our knowledge of the Judeo-Italian of the early modern period. In this article I will present the scena all’ebraica of the comedy Novantanove Disgrazie di Pulcinella (Rome 1769) by Gregorio Mancinelli. The text, published here in its entirety for the first time, will be preceded by an introduction and accompanied by an English translation and an analysis of the language and contents.

In: Journal of Jewish Languages