The sixth Early Modern Workshop, held at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University from Sunday, August 23, 2009 and to Tuesday, August 25, 2009, focused on the topic of “Reading across Cultures: The Jewish Book and Its Readers in the Early Modern Period.”

The workshop grappled with questions of developments in reading within Jewish society, of the impact the Jewish book may have had on culture in early modern Europe among both Jews and Christians. Recent studies, mostly on France, England, and Italy, have focused on the people behind “the book” – not only the author, but also those involved in book production and distribution, as well as the readers. As Guiglielmo Cavallo and Roger Chartier have argued, the text is fixed, whereas reading is ephemeral and creative. In her keynote address, Professor Ann Blair (Harvard University) outlined the state of the field in the history of the book and the history of reading and the workshop opened a discussion of the culture of reading in Jewish society, as well as of the reading of Jewish books in Christian society, during a period of rapid cultural transformation. What was a “Jewish” book, one participant asked? What were the different or parallel developments within Jewish society, with its very different institutions and conventions of learning? How did print and access to books affect readers? Did it facilitate new reading communities? Did it modify existing reading traditions? And did it affect the ways of reading? How did authorities seek to control or prevent access to new texts, and how did these measures affect readers?

These questions were addressed from a variety of approaches: examining the role publishers had in imagining and developing readers (Berger, Rosman) and the information paratexts include (Shear); influence of censorship both external and internal (Cooperman, Francesconi); access to new, or old, texts and development of new ways of reading (Dweck, Bodian); organization of knowledge at the time of the “overload of information” (Bar Levav); the use of “Jewish” books by Christians (Sutcliffe) ; Christian texts adapted for Jewish readers (Maciejko, von Bernuth).

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2009
Sunday, August 23rd
5:00 PM

EMW 2009: Reading across Cultures: The Jewish Book and Its Readers in the Early Modern Period

EMW 2009

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

5:00 PM - 5:00 PM

6:00 PM

EMW 2009 Keynote Address: Theory and Practice in the History of Reading

Ann Blair, Harvard University

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

6:00 PM

Monday, August 24th
9:00 AM

Technology, Preservation, and Freedom of Expression: Isaac de Latters as Printer in Sixteenth-Century Italy

Bernard D. Cooperman, University of Maryland - College Park

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

9:00 AM

10:00 AM

A publisher in service of his readers: prefaces to Amsterdam 1711 edition of the Tsene Rene

Shlomo Berger, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

10:00 AM

11:00 AM

Shlomo Lutzker's Introduction to Magid Devarav Le-Ya'akov

Moshe Rosman, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

11:00 AM

1:00 PM

Leon Modena's Ari Nohem Between Print and Manuscript

Yaacob Dweck, Princeton University

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

1:00 PM

2:00 PM

The Paratexts of Jacob Marcaria: Addressing the (Imagined) Reader in Mid-Sixteenth-Century Italy

Adam Shear, University of Pittsburgh - Main Campus

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

2:00 PM

3:00 PM

Putting Hebrew Books in Order: The First Printed Hebrew Bibliography

Avri Bar-Levav, Open University of Israel

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

3:00 PM

4:00 PM

Jews under Surveillance: Censorship and Reading in Early Modern Italy

Federica Francesconi, University of Oregon

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

4:00 PM

Tuesday, August 25th
9:00 AM

The Power of Texts in the Conversion of an Old Christian Hebraist

Miriam Bodian, University of Texas at Austin

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

9:00 AM

10:00 AM

From Apologetics to Polemics: Isaac Orobio de Castro’s Defences of Judaism and their Use in the French Enlightenment

Adam Sutcliffe, King's College, London

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

10:00 AM

11:00 AM

Early Modern Yiddish Readers: Immoderately Addicted to Rhyme?

Ruth von Bernuth, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

11:00 AM

1:00 PM

Sefer Or le-Et Erev: a history of a misunderstanding

Pawel Maciejko, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

1:00 PM

2:00 PM

The Hebrew library of a Renaissance humanist: The bibliography to Andreas Masius' edition of the book of Joshua (Antwerp: Christopher Plantin 1574)

Theodor Dunkelgrün, University of Chicago

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

2:00 PM

3:00 PM

Broadsheet of Koheles Shlomo: Beney Israel rahmanim vegomley hasadim (1738)

Shalhevet Dotan-Ofir, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

3:00 PM