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History of the Book

History of the Book

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

Free and open to the public.

Program and registration information at >

Takes 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 celebrates and examines these collections in relation to the social and religious lives of Jews from 1300 to 1700.


9:00-9:45 am Exhibition Tour of Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700

9:45-10:15 am Break

10:15 am-12:15 pm Presentations

Ralph Keen of University of Illinois at Chicago, Chair

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

12:30-2:00 pm | Lunch Break

2:00-3:15 pm | Collection Presentation

3:30-4:30 pm Roundtable: Judaism and the Book

Dean P. Bell of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Stephen Burnett of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Julie Harris of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

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.

Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies Consortium Institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines. Contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Image at left

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

Related Program

Sacred Love: Songs of the Sephardim
Sunday, November 5 
Pre-Concert Talk at 2:30 pm 
Concert at 3 pm.

In partnership with the Newberry Library's Center for Renaissance StudiesSpertus Institute hosts a performance of The Newberry Consort with guest curator Nell Snaidas. The performance will feature 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 is part of 
Religious Change, 1300-1700,
a yearlong multidisciplinary project.

Religious Change