We are pleased to invite applications for the Hebrew Manuscript Studies: Codicology, Palaeography, Art History summer workshop, taking place from 27 June to 8 July 2022 and led by Judith Schlanger (OCHJS and Corpus Christi College), Agata Paluch (Freie Universität Berlin), and César Merchán-Hamann (OCHJS and Bodleian Library).
To apply, please consult all of the materials below:
Application closing date: 18 February 2022 at 12pm UK Time
Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented interest in Hebrew manuscripts across various fields of academic Jewish Studies. The development of new technologies; online accessibility of the contents of the major European Hebrew manuscript collections (the British Library, Bodleian Library, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Berlin Staatsbibliothek, etc.); creation of manuscripts databases including dated codices (Sfar Data), Cairo Genizah fragments (Friedberg Geniza Project), Talmud Bavli Variants (Friedberg Project), and European fragments (Books within Books); and the creation of programmes dedicated to the study and preservation of Jewish archives and libraries (Yerusha) have made and continue to make manuscripts readily available for scholarly investigation. This readiness of access to information has already given a new impetus to ‘the return to primary sources’ in historical research and encouraged new editorial projects concerning medieval and early modern Hebrew texts.
Together with this renewed dynamism of historical and textual studies based on the unprecedented availability and ease with which students can consult manuscripts in good quality reproduction, there is a growing awareness of the necessity to understand the material and cognitive aspects involved in manuscript production and circulation. Indeed, the accessibility of the sources needs to go hand in hand with a focused preparation of the students and scholars to approach these handwritten medieval, early modern and modern sources in their specificity and complexity.
Many students and scholars who are using increasingly original manuscripts in their historical or literary research feel, and often express, the inadequacy of methodological tools at their disposal in order to better comprehend and exploit this rich source material. The most frequently expressed need is to place the manuscripts in their chronological and geographical context in order to understand their real role as a historical source or as a witness in a chain of transmission of a literary text. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of extant medieval Hebrew manuscripts and fragments (over 95%) do not bear an explicit date and place of their production. As for early modern and modern manuscripts, the impact of printing on their production has to be studied as well as the persistence of manuscript production, particularly in Europe, after the spread of printing and its adoption by Jewish communities.
The disciplines of codicology (the study of the material aspects of Hebrew books); diplomatics (the study of material aspects and legal formulae tradition of documents); and palaeography (the study of script and handwriting) have been developed (first, since the late seventeenth century for Latin and Greek writing tradition, and more recently, since the 1960s in France and Israel, also for Hebrew) and provide an answer to this evident need of historical and textual research. Taking on board new technological developments, the disciplines of codicology, palaeography and diplomatics provide specialist tools and methods of analysis of medieval and early modern Hebrew manuscripts, including digital palaeography.
The Summer Workshop in Oxford proposes a comprehensive and specialised programme, where a basic yet in-depth methodological introduction and research guidance will be provided to the fields of Hebrew manuscripts studies mentioned above, as well as history of the book and collections, art history, conservation and digital palaeography. The workshop will be divided into two parts, each one week long. The first week will be devoted to methodological introduction as well as detailed examination of medieval manuscripts. The second week will be devoted to manuscripts in the age of print, i.e., in the early modern and modern periods. Applicants will be expected to attend both parts, except for alumni of our programme who can apply to the second part only. The workshop is organised in collaboration with the Bodleian Library, which will allow access to original manuscripts in situ for the teaching sessions. Lecturers will include Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, Professor Sarit Shalev-Eyni, Dr. Agata Paluch and Dr. César Merchán-Hamann.
A limited number of bursaries is available. The bursaries will be awarded at the discretion of the organisers on the basis of need and their suitability to the Workshop. The bursaries do not cover all costs of living, travel, and other expenses, and participants are expected to pay for at least part of their expenses if not all.
PLEASE NOTE: In light of the current pandemic situation, and since future impact remains unforeseeable and our first duty is to care for the welfare of our staff and students, we cannot guarantee the workshop will take place as planned. We do not assume any financial responsibility for any expenses participants may have incurred if we are forced to cancel the workshop. If the workshop does take place, we will require all participants to have proof of full vaccination and to follow any rules the library may decide to enact, including, but not limited to, taking regular LFD tests, wearing face-masks and maintaining social distance.
Workshop Fee: £150 (Weeks 1-2)
£100 (Week 1 or 2 only)
Emailed applications should reach the Centre by no later than 18 February 2022 at 12pm UK Time.
Applicants will be informed on 28 February 2022 whether their application has been successful, and the Workshop Fee will be due for payment by 18 March 2022.
For questions or more detailed information about this particular workshop, please contact:
Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr César Merchán-Hamann (email@example.com)
For any other queries, please contact:
Ms Madeleine Trivasse (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For further information about the workshop, please see: