Current/Forthcoming Research Projects

Oxford Seminars in Advanced Jewish Studies

Project 2: On the Word of a Jew: Oaths, Testimonies, and the Nature of Trust

(October 2013 to March 2014)

Project leaders:
Professor Mitchell Hart (University of Florida) and Professor Nina Caputo (University of Florida)

This Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies seminar will examine when and how Jews became reliable or trustworthy in the realm of the law—as witnesses, but also as lawyers and judges– and in a host of other realms, including medicine, politics, academia, culture (particularly the art world), and business and finance. We will focus on traditionally Christian countries or empires, but also welcome participants whose interest is primarily the status of Jews under Muslim rule. The question of Jews and trust is more generally a question of Christian (or Muslim) transformation over time. Thus, this seminar provides an opportunity to explore how “the Jew” serves as a spur or impulse to large-scale changes in mentalities and practices, and to explain how this occurred within specific institutional settings: from the pre-modern world of theology and exegesis, to modern institutions like law courts, hospitals, universities, parliaments, businesses, cultural institutions such museums, galleries, and auction houses.

Read more about the Word of a Jew Seminar

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Project 3: The Reception of Josephus in the Early Modern Period  (January to June 2014)

Project Leaders:
Dr Joanna Weinberg
(University of Oxford) and
Professor Martin Goodman (University of Oxford)

This Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies will investigate the varied uses of the writings of Flavius Josephus in Jewish and Christian literature in the early modern period.

Read more about the Josephus Seminar

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Project 4: Jewish Books in Amsterdam 1600-1850: Authors, Producers, Readers and the Construction of Jewish Worlds (January to June 2015)

Project leaders:
Professor Shlomo Berger (University of Amsterdam)
Dr César Merchán-Hamann (University of Oxford)

Amsterdam was the centre of Jewish printing in Europe from 1650-1800. While printers in the city served the demands of a local Jewish book market they also printed Jewish books written outside the Netherlands and later distributed all over Europe. The extensive collection of Amsterdam printed material in Hebrew, Spanish, Portugese, Yiddish and Dutch assembled in the Bodleian and Muller Libraries has not been thoroughly studied before and research into this material is expected to yield significant results for the study of Dutch and European Jewish cultural history in the early modern period. The central question to be tackled in the Seminar will be the role of books in the lives of authors and readers, highlighting the texts which were significant for Jewish readers as well as the books which are important for study of Jewish cultural and intellectual history in this period.
Read more about Jewish Books in Amsterdam Seminar