Lehmann Workshop on the History of the Jewish Book

Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 9:00am - Monday, June 4, 2018 - 5:00pm

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 eighteenth annual Manfred R. Lehmann Memorial Master Workshop to be held on June 3-4 (Sunday-Monday), 2018, at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, 420 Walnut St., Philadelphia. 

The topic is "The Use of Medieval Manuscripts and Masoretic Comments to Determine the Accurate Text of the Bible and of its Commentaries." This year’s workshop will be led by Yosef Ofer, Professor of Bible at Bar Ilan University, who investigates the Masora and medieval exegesis. He is the author of the The Babylonian Masora of the Pentateuch, its Principles and Methods, (2001) [in Hebrew] and, with J. Jacobs, Naḥmanides' Addenda to His Torah Commentary, Written in the Land of Israel (2013) [in Hebrew]. Professor Ofer was responsible for the 'Jerusalem Crown' Bible Edition, based on the Aleppo Codex, and, as a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, chairs its Committee on Grammar.

The main goal of the Masoretes was to establish a uniform and fixed version of the Bible, to observe every letter, every vocalization and cantillation sign. To achieve this goal, the Masoretes created a complicated and sophisticated mechanism of Masoretic comments, which were recorded in the Masora Magna and Masora Parva in the margins of the biblical manuscripts, as well as in special Masoretic essays. In the first part of the workshop, participants will gain familiarity with the medieval manuscripts of the Bible that relate to the work of Aharon ben Moshe ben Asher, among them, the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex. The Cumulative Masora will be explored as a tool for determining the text of the Bible and as a forum for magnificent illustrations in colorful carpet pages. The second part of the workshop will be devoted to medieval exegesis. We will examine additions that were inserted in the commentaries of Rashi and Ramban — by the authors themselves, and by interpreters of other generations. Special attention will be given to maps and diagrams included by the commentators, and to the reflection of these graphics in manuscripts.

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 June 2 and 3 (with the option of June 1), 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 April 1, 2018. Make checks payable to Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. A registration form is available at: registration_LW2018.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: jsp-info@sas.upenn.edu ; 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 Albert and Nancy Friedberg.

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