The Newly-Discovered Judeo-Persian Letter: Date, Provenance, and Historical Context

Event information
Venue:FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus

A letter written around 800 C.E. by Jewish merchants trading in Inner Asia was recently discovered in Western China. This unpublished document provides us with valuable information about Jewish, Islamic, Iranian, and Inner Asian history, as well as the development of Iranian languages. Currently in the National Library in Beijing, the letter appears to be one of the earliest New Persian texts in existence. It is written in Judeo-Persian, a literary form of New Persian specific to Jewish texts. The presentation will begin with a look at the document itself—when and where it may have been written, how it was discovered—as well its relationship to another Judeo-Persian letter discovered in 1901 and now in the British Museum. The second part of the talk will discuss the social and historical information contained in the letter that tells us about the world of Jewish merchants on the Silk Road.