This conference is hosted by the British Association for Jewish Studies, in cooperation with the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion and the College of Arts and Law of the University of Birmingham.

The written word as manifested in a spectrum from classical Jewish texts to contemporary literature, alongside texts unearthed in locations including desert caves, an island in the Nile, a Cairo synagogue or the Warsaw ghetto, is the lifeblood of a great deal of research in Jewish Studies. This conference invites reflection on textuality from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the material aspects of texts, including the growing role of digital humanities in the field, to scribal culture and consciousness, textual plurality, composition, reworking, form and genre, reception, classification and inter-relationships between textual worlds and corpora. In addition, speakers may wish to investigate the oral and social aspects of texts and textuality, such as performance, memory, and power. The keynote speaker is Prof. Judy Newman, University of Toronto.

We welcome contributions from all periods and regions. As ever, the annual conference also welcomes papers that fall outside of the conference theme, and we encourage colleagues to submit abstract proposals for such papers.

In addition to the academic programme, on Sunday afternoon the conference will include an optional guided tour of the University’s Art Gallery, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (, which is home to one of the finest small collections of European Art in the UK, and an opportunity to visit the University’s Special Collections housed at the Edward Cadbury Research Library ( The collection, which received a lot of international press coverage for an early Qur’an manuscript this year, contains material of interest to members of the Association including:

  • Russian Jewish Material from the late 19th – early 20th centuries
  • The Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts
  • The archive of the Save the Children Fund 1919-2006
  • The papers of the late historian John Grenville who was Professor of Modern History at Birmingham from 1969-1994.
  • Enquiries and abstracts of max. 250 words should be sent by 15th February 2016 to

Panel Proposals are also accepted – the lead proposer should submit abstracts (250 words each) for all papers proposed for panels.

Registration Opens in March 2016.