Friday, January 27, 2012

CFP: German-Jewish Reading Practices


From: Nick Block
Sent: Thu 1/26/2012 8:46 AM
Subject: CFP: Cultural Perspectives on German-Jewish Reading Practices, = GSA, Deadline: Feb. 5
CFP: Cultural Perspectives on German-Jewish Reading Practices=20 36th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association (GSA),=20 Milwaukee, WI; October 4-7, 2012=20

Walter Benjamin unpacks his library. _The Star of Redemption_, with the magen David emblazoned on the cover, sits ostentatiously under Gershom Scholem's arm in the streets of Berlin. A Viennese caf. Reading = practices inform much of culture. In turn, "readings" inform much of scholarship.
Reading can shape imagined communities but can also be symptomatic of disengaging from community. In what ways do German Jews perform reading?
How does the book play into notions of identity? Can the affixing of a Jewish-themed bookplate be seen as an intervention by the reader, a = modern take on the affixing of a mezuzah? This panel at the GSA seeks presentations which engage with reading practices in the German-Jewish sphere from any vantage point. Papers in dialogue with Jewish studies, gender studies, visual culture, and critical theory are especially welcome.
Possible topics include:=20
-subcultures and reading=20
-material culture: the comic book, the bookplate, book collecting=20 -reading aloud and the aural reading experience=20 -sites of reading: the park bench, the Strassenbahn, the desk=20

Please submit abstracts (max. 250 words) to Nick Block =
(nblock [at]
by Sunday, Feb. 5th.=20

Presenters must be or become members of the German Studies Association = by Feb. 15th. Information on membership is available on the GSA website (


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

April 19, 2012: Emile Schrijver at Columbia


All programs are in Room 523, Butler Library, on the Columbia campus. Start time is 6:00 PM.

April 19, 2012

Emile Schrijver (University of Amsterdam)

"Defining a Field: Jewish Books in the Age of Print"

The study of the Jewish book since the invention of printing has developed from a rather traditional, descriptive bibliographical discipline into an independent field of research in which the book is studied as an expression of Jewish culture and as an instrument for the transmission of Jewish and non-Jewish knowledge. The foundations for this new field were laid in medieval book research, in the fields of Hebrew codicology and Jewish art, to be more specific. In particular the leading medievalists Malachi Beit-Arié and Colette Sirat have defined new fundamental research questions, which are closely related to, and often precede modern research into non-Jewish medieval books. Their research is based on the careful study of large corpora of carefully selected primary source material, but is not limited to descriptive work. They have produced a number of monographs in which more fundamental research questions have been dealt with. For the centuries since the invention of printing a comparable development may be observed, but the results are not as definitive yet as those achieved for medieval Hebrew manuscripts. This lecture will address some of the pertinent methodological issues.

Emile G.L. Schrijver is curator of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, the Jewish special collection at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a curator of the private Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books in Zurich, Switzerland. He is an expert of post?medieval Hebrew manuscripts and printed books and has published and lectured extensively on both topics. He has written a number of introductions to facsimile editions of Hebrew manuscripts and has published numerous auction and exhibition catalogues, most recently (2009, co?edited with Evelyn M. Cohen and Sharon Liberman Mintz) A Journey through Jewish Worlds. Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books. A German version of this catalogue, entitled "Schöne Seiten: Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection", accompanies an exhibition in the Landesmuseum in Zurich (25 Nov 2011 ? 11 March 2012). He serves on boards and advisory committees of numerous Jewish cultural organizations in and outside the Netherlands.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Book on Christian Hebraism

In press:

Stephen G. Burnett, Christian Hebraism in the Reformation Era, 1500-1660: Authors, Books, and the Transmission of Jewish Learning.
Brill 2012.

From the publisher's description: "Christian Hebraism in early modern Europe has traditionally been interpreted as the pursuit of a few exceptional scholars, but in the sixteenth century it became an intellectual movement involving hundreds of authors and printers and thousands of readers. The Reformation transformed Christian Hebrew scholarship into an academic discipline, supported by both Catholics and Protestants. This book places Christian Hebraism in a larger context by discussing authors and their books as mediators of Jewish learning, printers and booksellers as its transmitters, and the impact of press controls in shaping the public discussion of Hebrew and Jewish texts. Both Jews and Jewish converts played an important role in creating this new and unprecedented form of Jewish learning."