Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I would be very happy to post notices of seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences, etc. related to Jewish books. Send them my way--ashear at pitt dot edu--and I will post them here.

Here is one:

University of Pennsylvania
Material Texts seminar, Monday, February 11 at
5:15 pm in the Lea Library on the 6th floor of Van Pelt Library:

Yaacob Dweck (University of Pennsylvania):

"Jewish Scribal Culture in an Age of Print: The Writing Practices of Leon

Yaacob writes: "This presentation will examine the composition and
circulation of manuscripts in early modern Venice through the writings of
Leon Modena (157-1648). Modena, a rabbi and intellectual who lived in
Venice, composed several Hebrew polemics in the last decades of his life.
None of these texts, which included attacks on Kabbalah, Christianity, and
the belief in metempsychosis, appeared in print before the nineteenth
century. Using Modena's critique of Kabbalah, a work called Ari Nohem
(Heb. A Roaring Lion) I will focus on two issues: the nature of an
autograph in the early seventeenth century and the importance placed on
the material form of various texts in Modena's argument. In the first
part, I will examine Modena's writing practices and demonstrate that he
wrote his works in collaboration with an amanuensis, a practice typical
for Jewish and Christian intellectuals writing in Venice in the early
seventeenth century. In the second part, I will examine Ari Nohem as a
reflection upon the effects of printing on the transmission of Jewish
knowledge. In Ari Nohem Modena decries the effects of printing upon the
dissemination of Kabbalah, the adjudication of Jewish law, and the
accessibility of knowledge to a wider range of people. I hope
to demonstrate that the scribal aspects of Ari Nohem not only inform the
immediate working environment of the book's author, but also the content
of the work."

Yaacob Dweck is a fifth-year graduate student in history at Penn.

1 comment:

Karen said...

This presentation sounds absolutely fabulous, and makes me wish I was in London instead of working on book revisions.

My dad's family hails from Modena region and Abraham ben Chayyim dei Tintori was one of the earliest Jewish printers -- and who knows, an ancestor?

My writing partner and I are Jews, best friends, and interested in Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, so this would be enthralling.

Our first Jewish mystical thriller, THE BOOK OF NAMES, centers on the legend of the Lamed Vovniks. We are celebrating today, since it came out in paperback. (Hardcover came out last January, and it has been published in many of the 20 countries who bought foreign rights).

So glad I happened upon your blog and look forward to reading much more about Jewish books.

Karen Tintori