Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Llibre de comptes de Jucef Zabara, col·lector del clavari de la comunitat jueva de Girona (1443)

Eduard Feliu


Although the years from 1420 to 1445 saw a wave of relative prosperity and
calm, the first half of the 15th century was also a period of major decline for the
Jewish community of Gerona. The slight general increase in prosperity must
have brought about a degree of revival in the Jewish community, because in
1445 the perimeters of the Jewish quarter had to be extended, as ?the said Jewish
quarter is plainly no longer big enough to accommodate the Jewish community.?
In 1449, there were around two-hundred Jews living in the Call.
The ordinances issued by the members of Gerons?s city council in the year
1445 reveal what everyday life must have been like in the years immediately
preceding that time. At the request of the Church, the city council stated in the
ordinances of 28th April, 1445, that excessive familiarity and contact had come
about between Christians and Jews, a state of affairs that must be prevented,
since many Jewish practices were considered to pose a threat to the souls of
Christians. The city council issued various measures and prohibitions with a
view to separating Jews and Christians in their daily lives. Needless to say, the
ban prohibited things which, until that time, had been perfectly normal, particularly
with regard to the contact between Jews and Christians, as can be seen
from some of the entries in Jucef Zabara?s accounts book. Various regests of documents relating to this Gerona family have been published,
including two dating from 1438 and 1440, which make direct and explicit
reference to Jucef Zabara, a tax collector and treasurer of the Jewish community
of Gerona, who converted to Christianity on 22nd January, 1453,
receiving the baptismal name of Joan-Narcis Sarriera. Despite the Romance
form it takes in some transcriptions (Sa-Barra, Çabarra, etc.), Zabara is Semitic
in origin. It is most likely related to the Arabic, even more probable when we
take into account that the name Zabara has existed in the Arab world from ancient
times, where it has been associated with major cultural, political and religious
figures, particularly in the Yemen (the reader will recall that there were
Jews in the Yemen as early as the early Middle Ages).
The article includes the transcription, translation and facsimile edition of
the Llibre de comptes de Jucef Zabara (AHG, Notarial Gi 2,212),which recently
came to light among a number of notarial protocols dating from 1445.
Appendix 1, written by Joan Ferrer i Costa, includes a number of philological
observations as well as various morphological and semantic considerations
regarding Catalan words used in the document.
Appendix II contains palaeographical notes on the origin of the Hebrew
script used by Jucef ben Zabara, as well as on certain specific features.

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