Talking the Talk: Chad Gad Yah

In this series we honor the contributions made on the Zooniverse Talk boards for our project, Scribes of the Cairo Geniza. Talk is a way for citizen scientists on Zooniverse to converse with one another and experts on the different material they are working on, ask questions, and explore new insights. Each week we will feature a talk conversation that we love. Thanks for the participation #genizascribes!

@oct326: In this fragment the script is neat and elegant, and across the top of one side there seems to be a symmetric decoration

@js613: Nice! It’s a translation of the Chad gadya, an #aramaic #piyyut that closes the #passoverhagadah . I think it might be #Ladino , based on the words “be-do tsad dinari” as a translation of the two zuzim.

Judaica DH at the Penn Libraries: Idk about the #ladino, but this is from a set of pages where the animals, like the goats, from the song Chad Gadya are illustrated in the marginalia.

@noamsienna: Definitely not #Ladino, but rather some dialect of #Judeo-persian or related language.

@js613: Yes, I based my guess on the use of the words “do” and “dinero”, which I thought were mostly used in romance languages (since the latter comes from Latin), but maybe they were also used in others? #asktheexperts

@noamsienna: It was a good guess! But the word “dinar” is common throughout the Islamic world… The word “tafsir” for “vernacular translation” comes from Arabic but is very commonly used in Judeo-Persian. In fact I did some searching and it seems this page isn’t even handwritten, but rather #printed via lithograph, probably in Baghdad or Mumbai in the 19th-century — the exact page also appears in the Genizah collection at the Bodleian Library: http://genizah.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/profile/manuscript/53f347fc-76b1-4350-8de1-e1bcf030ecba. If anyone can find the following manuscript online, I suspect it’s probably the same as well: JTS MS 1403, ENA 88 T 31 (https://books.google.com/books?id=TgoSBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA371).

@js613: Excellent, @noamsienna, thank you!

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