The Early Modern Jewish Library and its Christian Borrowers
Joanna Weinberg (Oxford University)
This year’s research theme at Penn’s Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies is Early Modernity—spanning roughly from the late 15th through the 18th centuries. This period is marked by several dramatic changes and transformations in European society, such as the printing press and the dissemination of knowledge in unprecedented and unforeseen ways, the discovery of the New World, the scientific revolution, and the breakdown of traditional sources of authority. These developments caused the shifting of traditional boundaries between various groups within and outside the Jewish world, such as Jewish and non-Jewish communities, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, men and women, educated and uneducated, and rabbinic and lay elites. In the fall we are organizing a mini-series on Jewish-Christian relations in the early modern period. Our Penn Lectures in the spring will range from sixteenth-century Venice to communal politics in seventeenth-century Amsterdam to imagined “Jews” in eighteenth century literature.
Joanna Weinberg, Ph.D. teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies at Oxford University. Her fields of expertise are Midrash, Jewish historiography, and Jews in the Renaissance. Her publications include a translation (with introduction and notes) of Azariah de’ Rossi’s The Light of the Eyes (2001) and I Have Always Loved the Holy Tongue: Isaac Casaubon, the Jews, and a Forgotten Chapter in Renaissance Scholarship (2011), which she co-authored with Anthony Grafton.