Premodern Judaism from Manuscript to Print | Newberry

Premodern Judaism from Manuscript to Print

Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, [Pardes rimonim], 17th C. Call number: VAULT Hebrew MS 3

Detail of the Venetian Ghetto from Giovanni Merlo’s 1676 map. Call number: Novacco 4F 288

A History of the Book Symposium
Sunday, November 5, 2017Monday, November 6, 2017
Organized with Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Open to the Public
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
History of the Book Program

The Newberry Library and Spertus Institute each house a rich collection of medieval and early modern Jewish manuscripts and printed materials, including two jointly owned books. This one-day symposium celebrates and examines these collections in relation to the social and religious lives of Jews from roughly 1300 to 1700. How did the shift to print affect Jewish thought? How were Jews represented in print? What is the state-of-the-field of Judaism and the book in the medieval and Renaissance periods?


A performance at Spertus Institute by the Newberry Consort contributes to the scholarly activities, featuring a program of Renaissance Spain and the Ladino oral tradition of the Sephardic Jews, demonstrating the tie between text and music.


Download a flyer for the event by clicking here.


Sunday, November 5


Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, 610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago


1:30 to 2:30 pm Collection presentation of manuscripts (for conference participants)


2:30 pm Newberry Consort pre-concert talk


3 pm Newberry Consort performance: Sacred Love: Songs of the Sephardim (ticketed event)


Monday, November 6


Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library


9 to 9:45 am Exhibition tour of Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700


9:45 to 10:15 am Coffee break


10:15 am to 12:15 pm Presentations


Chair: Ralph Keen, University of Illinois at Chicago


Secrets, Sodot, and the Inter-religious Transmission of Medieval Esotericism


David Shyovitz, Northwestern University


Isaac Abravanel on Wealth, Work, and Poverty


Andrew Berns, 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 to 2 pm Lunch break


2 to 3:15 pm Collection presentation (for conference participants)


Organized by Andrew Epps, Lia Markey, and Tali Winkler


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


Dean P. Bell, Spertus Institute
Stephen Burnett, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Julie Harris, Spertus Institute


Organized by Lia Markey and Andrew Epps, Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies; and 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.


This program is part of Religious Change, 1450 - 1700, a yearlong multidisciplinary project



Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.

Cost and Registration Information 

To register to attend the Monday symposium at the Newberry Library, please fill out this online form.


Tickets are required for the Newberry Consort performance on Sunday at Spertus Institute. To purchase tickets for the performance, visit the Newberry Consort website.