From Jewish Self-Government to State Legislation: The Shai Takkanot (1650) and Maria Theresa's Generalordnung (1754) in Historical and Linguistic Context

PhDr. Lenka Uličná, Ph.D., Mag. Louise Hecht, Ph.D. (Univerzita Palackého Olomouc, CJS)


This joint presentation will offer a broad analysis of selected legal sources that shaped the life of Moravian Jewry in the 17th-18th century and beyond. We shall juxtapose a corpus of internal Jewish legislation (Shai Takkanot) and Maria Theresa’s attempt to administrate and centralize Moravia’s Jewry in the General-Policey-Process-und Commercialordnung from 1854. After contextualizing the two legal codices with similar legislation in the region (e.g. Poland-Lithuania and Bohemia), we will focus on continuity and change in the Moravian case. Special emphasis will be placed on the legal relevance of Maria Theresa’s regulation versus the impact on every-day-life of Moravia’s Jews (Lebenswelt). The historical analysis shall be supplemented by a socio-linguistic analysis of contemporary manuscripts (Inv. No. JMP 11.659, Inv. No. JMP 180.269, etc.) which shall specify shifts and changes within the space of Jewish languages as a by-product and at the same time as a medium enabling the political, social and cultural-historical changes.