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History of the Book

History of the Book

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

This event took place at:

The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton Street | Chicago

Premodern Judaism from Manuscript to Print

The Newberry Library and Spertus Institute each house rich collections of medieval and early modern Jewish manuscripts and printed materials (including some rare Jewish books that are jointly owned by the two institutions).

This jointly organized symposium celebrated and examined these collections in relation to the social and religious lives of Jews from 1300 to 1700.

Attendees were given an Exhibition Tour of Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700 and a series of presentations, moderated by Ralph Keen of University of Illinois at Chicago, Chair. Topics and presenters were:

Secrets, Sodot, and the Interreligious Transmission of Medieval Esotericism
David Shyovitz of Northwestern University

Isaac Abravanel on Wealth, Work, and Poverty
Andrew Berns of University of South Carolina

“Jewish” Books in Early Modern Europe:
The Marcaria Pamphlets and Other Materials at the Newberry
Adam Shear, University of Pittsburgh

Ghetto Gazing with Giovanni Merlo
Dana E. Katz, Reed College

The afternoon session comprised of a collections tour and a roundtable discussion Judaism and the Book, with Dean P. Bell of Spertus, Stephen Burnett of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Julie Harris of Spertus.

Organized by Lia Markey and Andrew Epps, Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies, with Dean Bell and Beth Schenker, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.

Image at left

Detail, Venetian Ghetto, Giovanni Merlo’s 1676 map.

Related Program

Sacred Love: Songs of the Sephardim
Sunday, November 5 

In partnership with the Newberry Library's Center for Renaissance StudiesSpertus Institute hosted a performance of The Newberry Consort with guest curator Nell Snaidas. The performance featured music of faith and longing from Renaissance Spain and the Ladino oral tradition of the Sephardic Jews, directed by Ellen Hargis and David Douglass. More >


This program was part of 
Religious Change, 1300-1700,
a yearlong multidisciplinary project.

Religious Change