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Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

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Emw 2014: Healing, Medicine, And Jews In The Early Modern World, Northwestern University, Evanston And Spertus Institute, Chicago Aug 2014

Emw 2014: Healing, Medicine, And Jews In The Early Modern World, Northwestern University, Evanston And Spertus Institute, Chicago

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Early modern healing and medicine continued medieval traditions and were simultaneously transformed as a result of radical scientific, religious, and social changes. Early modern scholars, pharmacists, medical doctors, and popular healers advanced significant arguments that drew from and shaped new understandings of human nature and subsequently altered the interactions between healing, religion, and society. Such changes afford a unique opportunity to discuss forms of Jewish interaction with Christian and Muslim societies and developments within Jewish learned and popular culture. They also engage and test the limits of new topics and methodologies employed in early modern studies, enriching the evaluation of ...


Emw 2012: Cross-Cultural Connections In The Early Modern Jewish World, Emw 2012 Feb 2012

Emw 2012: Cross-Cultural Connections In The Early Modern Jewish World, Emw 2012

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Understanding the processes of cultural change in early modern history as a process of creating and negotiating social, cultural, and religious borders has become a commonplace in the last generation of research. This perspective has great validity for Jewish history, too: early modern Jews also found themselves in a range of new settings, which allowed a considerably greater range of interactions with their non-Jewish neighbors than had previously been the case. It was not only geographical dispersion that broadened their social, economic, cultural and religious contacts with their non-Jewish surroundings: new ideas and ideologies deriving from the thought of the ...


'My Happiness Overturned': Mourning, Memory And A Woman's Writing, Rachel Greenblatt Aug 2011

'My Happiness Overturned': Mourning, Memory And A Woman's Writing, Rachel Greenblatt

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

In the late seventeenth century, Beila Perlhefter mourned her seven children in the introduction she wrote to a Yiddish ethical work written (at her urging, she tells her readers) by her husband, Ber. While the autobiographical information provided in the introduction is sparse indeed, it shares certain generic characteristics with other self-writing by early modern Jews from Prague, including Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller's "Megillat eivah." At the same time, each voice is a different voice, all the more so the rare instance of a woman's voice, and this short piece defies easy categorization.

This presentation is for the following ...


Personal Life In The Context Of Personal Death, Avri Bar-Levav Aug 2011

Personal Life In The Context Of Personal Death, Avri Bar-Levav

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

In his ethical will, R. Naphtali Ha-Kohen Katz (1650? - 1719), a central rabbinic figure in his time, gives specific instructions for death rituals that he wants, and also addresses his family in warm words, while mentioning meaningful events of his past. The presentation will analyze this personal voice of the beginning of the 18th century.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • The Ethical Will of R. Naphtali Ha-Kohen Katz


Introduction To Megillat Sefer By Rabbi Jacob Emden, Jacob J. Schecter Aug 2011

Introduction To Megillat Sefer By Rabbi Jacob Emden, Jacob J. Schecter

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Among Jacob Emden’s many works is Megillat Sefer, one of the most unusual, open, revealing, and unself-conscious egodocuments in Jewish and even general history. Written between 1752 and 1766, this work existed only in manuscript form for one hundred and thirty years, first in Emden’s hand and then in the hand of someone who copied the original. Emden’s handwritten version is no longer extant and only the copy exists. The work was first published in Warsaw, 1896 by David Kahane. In 1979 it was printed again in Jerusalem by Abraham Bick-Shauli who claimed that he was correcting ...


Generational Conflict In Converso Families, 1492-1550, Sara Nalle Aug 2011

Generational Conflict In Converso Families, 1492-1550, Sara Nalle

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

The egodocuments presented to the seminar are Inquisitorial confessions of second-generation "nuevos convertidos" who in one way or another were caught between their parents' desire to maintain contact with Judaism and their own alleged desire to assimilate as Spanish Catholics.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Trial of Francisco Martínez, apothocary, resident of Deza (1533)
  • Trial of Gaspar de San Clemente (1541)


Autobiographical Accounts For A Non-Jewish Friend: Joseph Attias' Letters To L.A. Muratori, Francesca Bregoli Aug 2011

Autobiographical Accounts For A Non-Jewish Friend: Joseph Attias' Letters To L.A. Muratori, Francesca Bregoli

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

The Livornese Jewish scholar Joseph Attias (1672-1739) is known for his contributions to eighteenth-century Tuscan culture as a book collector and mediator. Attias sent two autobiographical letters to a beloved correspondent, renowned Modenese historian Ludovico Antonio Muratori, in 1724 and 1733. This presentation will analyze the documents as self-conscious life narratives and examples of early Enlightenment self-fashioning that shed light on the strategies employed by a Jewish member of the Republic of Letters to present his formative years, his training, and his achievements to one of the most esteemed representatives of eighteenth-century Italian culture.

This presentation is for the following ...


The Travel Diaries Of Hayim Joseph David Azulai, Yaacob Dweck Aug 2011

The Travel Diaries Of Hayim Joseph David Azulai, Yaacob Dweck

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This presentation examines the travel diaries of Hayim Joseph David Azualai, an emissary of the Jews of the Palestine in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. In particular it addresses the question of the place of reading and books in his diaries and compare Azulai's experience of books and reading to two of his contemporaries Hayim Isaac Karigal and Israel Landau.

This presentation is for the following text(s):


Descend To The Abyss: Jacob Frank's Going To Poland, Pawel Maciejko Aug 2011

Descend To The Abyss: Jacob Frank's Going To Poland, Pawel Maciejko

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This presentation examines several autobiographical fragments of the most important Frankist document, The Words of the Lord. It focuses on the motif of recurrent divine calls to 'go to Poland' and, ultimately, the justification of Frank's conversion to Christianity.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • The Collection of the Words of the Lord spoken in Bruenn


Mining An Unusual Ego Text (Or Two), Gershon D. Hundert Aug 2011

Mining An Unusual Ego Text (Or Two), Gershon D. Hundert

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

The texts presented here are excerpted from a 329-page-manuscript Divrei Binah in cursive Hebrew entitled Divre binah. The book was completed in 1800 but never published. It is devoted mostly to the Sabbatian and Frankist phenomena; the genre to which the text belongs is open to discussion. Its author is Dov Ber Brezer or Birkenthal of Bolechów (1723-1805) in western Galicia.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Divrei Bina (Understanding Words) by Dov Ber Brezer (Birkenthal) of Bolechów


Revealing, Concealing: Ways Of Recounting The Self In Early Modern Times, Natalie Zemon Davis Aug 2011

Revealing, Concealing: Ways Of Recounting The Self In Early Modern Times, Natalie Zemon Davis

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Keynote address by Natalie Zemon Davis, University of Toronto, “Revealing, Concealing: Ways of Recounting the Self in Early Modern Times” is preceded by opening remarks by Robert Abzug and Miriam Bodian)


Emw 2011: Egodocuments: Revelation Of The Self In The Early Modern Period, Emw 2011 Aug 2011

Emw 2011: Egodocuments: Revelation Of The Self In The Early Modern Period, Emw 2011

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

The Early Modern Workshop in 2011, “Egodocuments: Revelation of the Self in the Early Modern Period,” seeks to examine how individuals in the early modern period wrote and thought about themselves. The workshop participants explore texts ranging from the obvious autobiographical texts to less obvious, such as ethical wills, Inquisition-prompted accounts of self, family diaries of births and deaths, travelogues, and others. Questions raised deal with issues of self-representation, reading, relationship with the divine, gender differences in self-representation, and motivations to write autobiographical accounts.


Regulating Communal Space: Mikvaot In Seventeenth-Century Altona, Debra Kaplan Aug 2010

Regulating Communal Space: Mikvaot In Seventeenth-Century Altona, Debra Kaplan

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Over the course of a few years in the latter half of the seventeenth century, the community of Altona made several changes in the administration of local ritual baths. A series of entries in the communal pinkas, or logbook, elucidates how the community raised funds from mikvaot, how lay and rabbinic leaders worked together, and how communal leaders regulated ritual space both in homes and in communal space.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Pinkas/Communal Logbook of Altona (CAHJP AHW 14 [50])
  • Pinkas/Communal Logbook of Altona (CAHJP AHW 14 [90])
  • Pinkas/Communal Logbook of Altona (CAHJP ...


Minhag And Migration: A Yiddish Custom Book From Venice, 1553, Lucia Raspe Aug 2010

Minhag And Migration: A Yiddish Custom Book From Venice, 1553, Lucia Raspe

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This presentation focuses on a Yiddish book of customs written in Venice in the mid-sixteenth century, which describes synagogue and home observances over the course of the Jewish year. Comparing MS Oxford Can. Or. 12 to the fifteenth-century Hebrew custumal it is based on (MS Frankfurt hebr. oct. 227), the presentation will discuss the efforts of Ashkenazic émigrés to northern Italy trying to preserve their identity in the face of a Jewish world suddenly become complex.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Book of Customs (MS Frankfurt hebr. oct. 227)
  • Book of Customs (MS Oxford Can. Or. 12)


Communities Developing In Association With Place: Testament Of Ginebra Blanis, 1574, Stefanie Siegmund Aug 2010

Communities Developing In Association With Place: Testament Of Ginebra Blanis, 1574, Stefanie Siegmund

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Recent attention to Jewish demography and to the spatial characteristics of Jewish residential patterns has demonstrated that in more than one region, Early Modern Jews were associated with each other more loosely, and less locally, than has previously been imagined. The "communities" to which Jews may have felt they belonged are difficult to know as they are likely to have varied with economic or social status, gender, age, and ethnic origin. The testament translated below is that of a merchant woman in the first years of the existence of the Florentine ghetto (founded 1571). The study of early modern bequests ...


Broadsheet Of Koheles Shlomo: Beney Israel Rahmanim Vegomley Hasadim (1738), Shalhevet Dotan-Ofir Aug 2009

Broadsheet Of Koheles Shlomo: Beney Israel Rahmanim Vegomley Hasadim (1738), Shalhevet Dotan-Ofir

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This is a translation of a 1738 Broadsheet of Koheles Shlomo "Beney Israel rahmanim vegomley hasadim"


The Hebrew Library Of A Renaissance Humanist: The Bibliography To Andreas Masius' Edition Of The Book Of Joshua (Antwerp: Christopher Plantin 1574), Theodor Dunkelgrün Aug 2009

The Hebrew Library Of A Renaissance Humanist: The Bibliography To Andreas Masius' Edition Of The Book Of Joshua (Antwerp: Christopher Plantin 1574), Theodor Dunkelgrün

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Andreas Masius' 1574 polyglot edition of the book of Joshua with copious annotations and commentaries is a monument of Renaissance biblical scholarship. In an appendix - the text presented here - Masius recorded the Hebrew and Aramaic books he consulted in preparing his edition. In spite of the brevity of its descriptions, this bibliography has much to tell us about Christian readership of the Hebrew book in the 16th century. It reveals the depth, breadth, and sophistication of Masius' grasp of Jewish literature. It is a snapshot of his own library, but at the same time also a panorama of the flourishing ...


Sefer Or Le-Et Erev: A History Of A Misunderstanding, Pawel Maciejko Aug 2009

Sefer Or Le-Et Erev: A History Of A Misunderstanding, Pawel Maciejko

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This presentation explores the boundaries of the concept of the ‘Jewish book’ on the basis of Yiddish and Hebrew texts distributed by Protestant missionaries among the Jews in 18th-century East Central Europe. Such texts were not always recognised as Christian by their Jewish readers. The case in point is the brochure Or le-Et Erev circulated by the Halle Pietists. The Yiddish text does not give the name of the author or the place of publication; it does not refer explicitly to Jesus’s identity with the Jewish Messiah until the final pages; and it bases much of its argument on ...


Early Modern Yiddish Readers: Immoderately Addicted To Rhyme?, Ruth Von Bernuth Aug 2009

Early Modern Yiddish Readers: Immoderately Addicted To Rhyme?, Ruth Von Bernuth

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Roughly one third of Old Yiddish literature is based on traceable European literary sources, mainly German. Given how close Old Yiddish is to Early New High German, some of these Old Yiddish texts with European sources feel like mere transcriptions, others more like legitimate translations and yet others more like free adaptations. From the Yiddish reader's perspective, the texts become accessible through transcription into Hebrew characters and more accessible the more that the translator engages the text as representative Jewish reader. A large proportion of these Yiddish books with German sources are prose novels–a genre newly popular with ...


From Apologetics To Polemics: Isaac Orobio De Castro’S Defences Of Judaism And Their Use In The French Enlightenment, Adam Sutcliffe Aug 2009

From Apologetics To Polemics: Isaac Orobio De Castro’S Defences Of Judaism And Their Use In The French Enlightenment, Adam Sutcliffe

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This presentation explores the use by non-Jews in eighteenth-century France of controversialist works written primarily for manuscript circulation within the seventeenth-century Sephardic communities of the Netherlands. In response to sustained theological doubts regarding Judaism posed by Sephardim deeply conditioned by having lived as outward Catholics in the Iberian peninsula, several community leaders in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, such as the doctor and controversialist Isaac Orobio de Castro (c.1617-1687), authored trenchant attacks on Christian doctrine, in particular emphasizing the enduring validity of Jewish law and the superiority of Jewish biblical exegesis. French translations of some of these texts - which circulated in Paris ...


The Power Of Texts In The Conversion Of An Old Christian Hebraist, Miriam Bodian Aug 2009

The Power Of Texts In The Conversion Of An Old Christian Hebraist, Miriam Bodian

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Lope de Vera y Alarcón was an Old Christian Hebraist at the University of Salamanca in the late 1630s. In his professional training, he had access to texts that few people in Spain were permitted to see. His subversive reading of Erasmus and the Hebrew diary of David Reuveni, among other works, were not the only factors in his becoming a "judaizer," but by his own account they were of great importance. The texts I will present are excerpts from his Inquisition trial (1639-1644).

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Inquisition file of Lope de Vera y Alarcón ...


Jews Under Surveillance: Censorship And Reading In Early Modern Italy, Federica Francesconi Aug 2009

Jews Under Surveillance: Censorship And Reading In Early Modern Italy, Federica Francesconi

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This talk explores how Counter-Reformation’s dynamics affected the readings of Italian Jews, after the political changes of the 1550s and the promulgation of the Index by Clement VIII in 1596 (with the ban of the Talmud). Dealing with censorship, expurgation and banning of books, in fact, Italian Jews found themselves caught up between the intricate and often conflicting positions between the Congregation of the Index and the Office of the Inquisition. Based on the analysis of both Inquisitorial sources (proceedings, guidelines and censors’ reports) and biographical accounts, I will explore how rabbis and converts, who worked as appointed censors ...


Putting Hebrew Books In Order: The First Printed Hebrew Bibliography, Avri Bar-Levav Aug 2009

Putting Hebrew Books In Order: The First Printed Hebrew Bibliography, Avri Bar-Levav

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

Siftey yeshenim (The lips of those who are asleep, Amsterdam 1680) is the first printed Hebrew bibliography. In his introduction,the author, Shabtai Meshorer Bas of Prague (1641-1718), explains why such a novel book is needed, and what are its usages for Heberw readers and writers with various interests.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Siftey yeshenim (The lips of those who are asleep, Amsterdam 1680)


The Paratexts Of Jacob Marcaria: Addressing The (Imagined) Reader In Mid-Sixteenth-Century Italy, Adam Shear Aug 2009

The Paratexts Of Jacob Marcaria: Addressing The (Imagined) Reader In Mid-Sixteenth-Century Italy, Adam Shear

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

For a few years in the middle of the sixteenth century (1557-1564), a Hebrew press was active in Riva del Garda (Riva di Trento) under the management of Jacob Marcaria, a physician. The business arrangements of the press seem complicated and difficult to reconstruct (having only the evidence of the printed editions): Marcaria was printer for most of the books and may be considered the publisher of some; for others, he was in partnership with Rabbi Joseph Ottolenghi of nearby Cremona. The activities of Marcaria and Ottolenghi were undertaken with the permission of the Prince-Bishop of Trent, Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzo ...


Leon Modena's Ari Nohem Between Print And Manuscript, Yaacob Dweck Aug 2009

Leon Modena's Ari Nohem Between Print And Manuscript, Yaacob Dweck

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

This presentation examines Leon Modena's critique of Kabbalah, a Hebrew treatise composed in Venice in 1639 entitled Ari Nohem (The Roaring Lion). One of the primary causes of Modena's critique was the printing of kabbalistic books such as the Zohar, Ma'arekhet ha-Elohut, and Sefer Yetzirah. In Modena's argument, the printing of kabbalistic books in the sixteenth century had disrupted prior patterns of the transmission of kabbalistic knowledge. In particular, Modena argues that kabbalistic books had begun to be read in new ways by new audiences. Using Modena's analysis as a point of departure this presentation ...


Shlomo Lutzker's Introduction To Magid Devarav Le-Ya'akov, Moshe Rosman Aug 2009

Shlomo Lutzker's Introduction To Magid Devarav Le-Ya'akov, Moshe Rosman

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

ABSTRACT: This presentation analyzes Shlomo Lutzker's Introduction to Magid Devarav Le-Ya'akov as a key source of information on the process of formation and publication of early hasidic books and the activities of printers and aditors. It also bears on the questions of whether there existed "hasidic publishers" and how it might be possible to identify a "hasidic book".

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Shlomo Lutzker's Introduction to Magid Devarav Le-Ya'akov: Likutei Amarim (1781)


A Publisher In Service Of His Readers: Prefaces To Amsterdam 1711 Edition Of The Tsene Rene, Shlomo Berger Aug 2009

A Publisher In Service Of His Readers: Prefaces To Amsterdam 1711 Edition Of The Tsene Rene, Shlomo Berger

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

The Amsterdam 1711 edition of the Tsene Rene is a particularly interesting because it contains prefaces that include allusions to and discussions of Yiddish texts and book production, the roles of publishers and the envisaged demands of readers. It enables us to determine and evaluate the status of books with the early modern Ashkenazi culture.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Preface to the 1711 edition of Tsene Rene

Click here to view the video.


Technology, Preservation, And Freedom Of Expression: Isaac De Latters As Printer In Sixteenth-Century Italy, Bernard D. Cooperman Aug 2009

Technology, Preservation, And Freedom Of Expression: Isaac De Latters As Printer In Sixteenth-Century Italy, Bernard D. Cooperman

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

The presentation discusses broader questions of the relationship between technology and freedom of expression in sixteenth-century Italy. It takes into account the Counter-Reformation context and its impact on Jewish printing and culture.

This presentation is for the following text(s):

  • Responsa of Rabbenu Nissim of Gerona (1546)
  • A ruling against rabbis who have sought to delay the printing of the Zohar (1558)
  • The "imprimatur" by Isaac de Lattes (1558)

Click here to view the video presentation.


Emw 2009: Reading Across Cultures: The Jewish Book And Its Readers In The Early Modern Period, Emw 2009 Aug 2009

Emw 2009: Reading Across Cultures: The Jewish Book And Its Readers In The Early Modern Period, Emw 2009

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

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

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 ...


Material Possessions And Religious Boundaries In Early Modern Poland, Magda Teter Aug 2007

Material Possessions And Religious Boundaries In Early Modern Poland, Magda Teter

Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History

The 1719 trial of two Jews from Brest (Brześć) accused of breaking into a Bernardine church and robbing a tomb of a prominent noble woman, raises questions of material possessions and religious boundaries. Among things stolen were clothes and textiles used in wrapping the coffin of the deceased woman. They were also one of the reasons that the robbery was discovered and the Jews were caught: some months following the robbery the daughters of the two Jewish robbers were spotted wearing dresses made of the stolen textiles. This case is certainly most notorious but it is not the only example ...