The Manfred R. Lehmann Memorial Master Workshop in the History of the Jewish Book

Sunday, May 8, 2016 - 10:00am - Monday, May 9, 2016 - 5:00pm
Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, 420 Walnut St., Philadelphia

The Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, are pleased to announce the sixteenth annual Manfred R. Lehmann Memorial Master Workshop to be held on May 8-9 (Sunday-Monday), 2016, at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, 420 Walnut St., Philadelphia. 

The topic is Censorship of Jewish Books in the Early Modern Period. This year’s workshop will be led by Professor Piet van Boxel, President of the Jewish Historical Society of England, Distinguished Professor at the Oriental Institute at Oxford University, and former Curator of Hebraica and Judaica Collections at the Oxford University Library. He co-edited Crossings Borders: Hebrew Manuscripts as a Meeting-place of Cultures (Bodleian Library, 2009), the companion catalogue to the internationally acclaimed exhibition of medieval Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin illuminated manuscripts that he curated from the Bodleian collection. Prof. van Boxel has written widely on the censorship of Jewish books, and his forthcoming monograph, Jewish Books in Christian Hands; Theology, Exegesis and Conversion under Gregory XIII, will be published by the Vatican Library in 2016.

The six sessions are intended to provide a nuanced and objective re-evaluation of the fate of Hebrew books in the early modern period by closely examining the censored books themselves, along with regulations and documents related to censorial activity. Censorship was never unilateral or consistent. Damage to the books was sometimes irreparable, but censorship often prompted printers and authors to employ strategies that would ensure the product’s viability. Topics to be covered include: the vicissitudes of the Talmud which was first burnt, banned and then censored; attempts to censor the medieval Jewish commentaries included in the rabbinical Bibles (Miqraot Gedolot); Strategies employed by publishers to circumvent official directives in order to preserve texts from the censor’s pen; the Index expurgatorius, a tool for expurgation; treatment of Hebrew books relative to other so-called ‘heretical’ books; censorship as a means for conversion.

Because the Workshop will involve textual study, participants should be able to read unpointed Hebrew texts. The workshop is open to professors and independent scholars, professional librarians in the field of Jewish and related studies, and graduate students in Jewish Studies. Attendance at previous workshops is not a prerequisite for admission.

For faculty and professionals, tuition is $300. In addition to attendance and all materials for the workshop, the tuition includes two nights in a hotel (double-occupancy) for the nights of May 7 and 8 (with the option of May 6), and all meals and refreshments (all kosher) during the course of the workshop. Graduate students may apply for a full scholarship to the workshop. To apply for the scholarship, a graduate student should write us giving the details of his or her academic program and a brief statement explaining how the workshop will further his or her academic studies. S/he should also ask a faculty advisor to write us a letter of recommendation on the student's behalf.  

Attendance is limited. If you are interested in attending the workshop, please notify us immediately. Full payment must be received by March 1, 2016. Make checks payable to Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. A registration form is available at: registrationLW2016.pdf

Please address all correspondence to: Lehmann Workshop, c/o Jewish Studies Program, 711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305; E-mail: ; Call 215-898-6654

The Manfred R. Lehmann Memorial Master Workshop in the History of the Jewish Book has been made possible by a generous contribution from the Manfred and Anne Lehmann Foundation along with grants from Mr. Albert Friedberg.

Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax /