Anna Schultz: the Afterlives of Publishing: Christian Texts for Indian Jewish Song
Abstract: When Bene Israel women perform Marathi Jewish songs, they sing from handwritten notebooks of song texts learned from mothers, aunts, and friends. These songs were transmitted orally and transcribed from memories of Jewish performance, but many have origins that are neither oral nor Jewish. Central to the repertories of Bene Israel women today are Psalms in Marathi meters, composed by Christian missionaries and published in the early nineteenth century. I will consider how Hindu devotional song practice colored these Christian texts, and how they have been re-oralized and re-textualized by Bene Israel women to bolster their Jewish knowledge, generate new forms of sociability, and articulate Bene Israel identities in changing contexts of nationalism and migration.