L'Oblation des Prémices de Mattitiahou Nissim Terni: Traduit de l'Hébreu par K. Werchowski

Translated title of the contribution: Mattitiahou Nissim Terni's Oblation of Origins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Mattityahu Nissim or Donato Terni, Rabbi, teacher and poet (1745 - after 1810) lived in Pesaro, Ancona, Florence, Urbino and Senigallia. He left compositions in Halakhah, poems, riddles, and 6 dramas, parts of which have been already published. However, his first-written play, 'Minhat Bikurim' which is offered here for the French reader, was not even known to exist till now. Its discovery was made possible when the National Library at Moscow opened its doors to Western scholars, permitting the inspection of the valuable Ginzburg collection where I found 2 copies of this unknown play. As well known, theatre was banned in the Talmud. Nevertheless, Hebrew drama was born in the middle of the 16th century, along with the revival of European classic drama, and in 17th century it was evidetly regarded by Jewish educational authorities as an influentive educational tool. In this, as I see it, they were following the example of Italian Catholic institutions reacting to the Protestant Reformation, especially the Jesuits that greatly encouraged dramatic activity at their colleges. Terni dedicated his plays to the "Yeshiva"s at which he studied and tought. 5 of them were actually performed, the students functioning as actors. Minhat Bikurim fulfilled an educational task by its theme that contrasts worldly life to celestial happiness. So it did by its beautiful, rich language, complex Baroque style and flowing musicality, resulting from its carefully measured Ottava rima, because in many Jewish Italian communities Hebrew, Literature and general Aesthetics were regarded as important cultural assets.

Translated title of the contributionMattitiahou Nissim Terni's Oblation of Origins
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)173-217
Number of pages45
JournalRevue des Etudes Juives
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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