Subscribe To our E-Newsletter
2014 Penn Lectures in Judaic Studies
Thirteen scholars from Penn’s Katz Center offer snapshots from Jewish life during the early modern period, an era marked by a dynamic interplay between the perseverance of medieval traditions and the upheavals of the new—the scientific revolution, the printing press, and the rise of new forms of communal and state authority—developments that would transform the lives and cultures of non-Jews and Jews alike in unforeseen ways, bringing their world ever-closer to the modern.
The Penn Lectures are made possible through a generous endowment from the Klatt family and the Harry Stern Family Foundation.
What Happened to the Torah in 1492?
The Hebrew Bible in Spain and the Sephardic Diaspora after the Expulsion
Theodor Dunkelgrün (University of Cambridge, England)
The expulsions and (forced) conversions of Iberian Jews in the 1490s took place at the very time when Christian humanists were beginning to study the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew language like never before. Sephardic exiles took whatever books they could with them wherever they fled, from North Africa to Italy and from the Ottoman Empire to the Dutch Republic. Their biblical manuscripts provided the foundations for transformative editions that would play central roles in the early modern period for Jews and Christians alike. Meanwhile, back in Spain, a small circle of Catholic scholars braved the terror of the inquisition to ponder the Sephardic biblical tradition. This lecture explores the Sephardic and Spanish traditions of Hebrew Biblical studies in the century following the Expulsion.
Theodor Dunkelgrün received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2012 and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cambridge, England. Dr. Dunkelgrün researches the history of the book and biblical scholarship, the transformation of textual traditions from manuscript to print, and scholarly encounters between Jews and Christians.