Medieval and Early Modern Hebrew Manuscript Studies: Codicology, Palaeography, Art History

SUMMER WORKSHOP: 6 to 17 July 2020

Project Leaders:          Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (OCHJS and Corpus Christi College)
César Merchán-Hamann (OCHJS and Bodleian Library)

In collaboration with Agata Paluch (Freie Universität Berlin)

                             CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: 31 MARCH 2020

Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented interest in Hebrew manuscripts in various fields of academic Jewish studies.  The development of new technologies to deal with medieval and early modern handwriting, online accessibility of the contents of the major European Hebrew manuscript collections, creation of manuscripts databases, and programmes dedicated to the study and preservation of Jewish archives and libraries, have made and continue to make the manuscripts readily available for scholarly investigation.  This readiness of access to information has already given a new impetus to ‘the return to primary sources’ in historical research and encouraged new editorial projects concerning medieval Hebrew texts.

Together with this renewed dynamism of historical and textual studies based on the unprecedented availability and ease with which students can consult manuscripts in good quality reproduction, there is a growing awareness of the necessity to understand the material and cognitive aspects involved in manuscript  production and circulation.  Indeed, the accessibility of the sources needs to go hand in hand with a focused preparation of the students and scholars to approach these handwritten medieval sources in their specificity and complexity.

As a matter of fact, many students and scholars who are using original manuscripts in their historical or literary research feel, and often express, the inadequacy of methodological tools at their disposal in order to better comprehend and exploit this rich source material.

The Summer Workshop in Oxford has two parts. Applicants may sign up for either or both weeks.

  1. Medieval (July 6-10): The first part will present an intensive programme in the fields of medieval Hebrew codicology, paleography, art history, history of the book, and collections, bindings and Jewish calendars.
  2. Early Modern (July 13-17): The second part will start with the impact of print on reading and book collecting practices in early modern times, the subsequent interaction between manuscripts and print, concentrating then on palaeography and codicology, together with a brief survey of conservation.

Several specialists will provide an in-depth methodological introduction and research guidance to the fields of Hebrew manuscripts studies, with the emphasis being on practical, hands-on work utilising the Bodleian’s unparalled collections.  The Workshop is organised in collaboration with the Bodleian Library and the Freie Universität Berlin. The Bodleian Library will allow access to original manuscripts in situ for the teaching sessions.  Lecturers will include Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, Professor Sarit Shalev-Eyni, Dr Agata Paluch, and Dr. César Merchán-Hamann.

Suitably-qualified scholars and students are invited to apply.  Space for the Workshop is limited and early application is advised.  Selection of participants will be on the basis of the potential benefit to their studies from attending the Workshop.

A very limited number of bursaries is available.  The bursaries cover, wholly or partially, travel, tuition, accommodation and maintenance costs, and will be awarded at the discretion of the organisers on the basis of financial circumstances and suitability for the Workshop.

Workshop Fee:            £120 (one week only)

£240 (both weeks)

Applications should reach the Centre by 31 March 2020. 

Applicants will be informed no later than 24 April 2020 whether their application has been successful and the Workshop Fee will be due for payment by 30 April 2020.

For more detailed information see: www.ochjs.ac.uk/

or contact:

Prof. Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (judith.schlanger@orinst.ox.ac.uk)

Dr. César Merchán-Hamann (cesar.merchan-hamann@bodleian.ox.ac.uk)

For any other queries contact:

Martine Smith-Huvers (registrar@ochjs.ac.uk)

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