Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue
Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought
In this module, students will acquire elements of a history of the Hebrew book and a foundation of Hebrew codicology and bibliography. On completion of this module, students will be able to describe Hebrew manuscripts codicologically, paleographically and art historically. They will be able to date and localise them, and appreciate their scribal and artistic features. Also, students will learn to identify products of early Hebrew printing with the help of standard instruments of Hebrew bibliography. They will be acquainted with the history of Hebrew printing in Europe and will be able to contextualise books in this history and in general European intellectual and social history.
The period covered will extend all through the Middle Ages and into the early modern period. Students will be acquainted with the history of medieval Hebrew manuscripts, including paleographical and art historical peculiarities. The module will then consider the history of Hebrew printing in the context of both general printing history and Jewish social history. Students will be acquainted with technical and literary aspects, the relationship of Hebrew printing with the 'intellectual revolution' of early modern Europe. Issues such as censorship both by the Inquisition and by Jewish communal institutions will be considered, as will the history of Jewish education and the history of Jewish book collections and libraries. There will be a strong emphasis on practical skills as students will spend sessions in both the Roth collection; excursions to Manchester (Rylands Library) and possibly London (BL) are projected. Although the bibliography will be largely English, a knowledge of Hebrew is essential to those striving to be able to examine these books properly.
Form of teaching
Seminars: 12 x 2 hours.
Form of assessment
Essay x 6,000 words at the end of the semester.
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