2016-2017 SIMS Visiting Research Fellowships

SIMS is pleased to announce the following Visiting Research Fellows for the 2016-2017 academic year:

Aleksandra Bunčić, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (October 2016)

Illuminating the Skies: Jews, Science and an Astronomical Anthology (LJS 57) in Medieval Catalonia

This project explores the dissemination of scientific knowledge in medieval Spain through the lens of an extraordinary illuminated manuscript that is housed at the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies and catalogued as an astronomical anthology (LJS 57). Produced in the second half of the fourteenth century (c. 1361) in Catalonia, in Hebrew, this manuscript contains a collection of astronomical texts, a copy of a treatise on the calendar compiled for King Pedro IV of Aragon, works by the twelfth-century scientist Abraham Ibn Ezra, an introduction to astrology, and a Hebrew translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest. By considering this manuscript’s art historical, cultural and local contexts, this project aims to shed light on developments in book production, astronomical iconography, and the identities and roles of Jewish scientists in late medieval Spain.

Justine Walden, University of Toronto (May 2017)

Europe’s Roots: Religious Others in Late Medieval Christian Europe

This project will complete the conversion of 19th-century Florentine manuscript catalogs containing many hundreds of descriptions of medieval and renaissance manuscripts into digitally manipulable records, and will interface these records with the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts. As these records are elsewhere uncatalogued, the project will vastly expand knowledge of and access to important manuscripts that span the gamut of scholarly disciplines. My project will also apply bibliometric and traditional humanistic analysis to these records to gain a clearer portrait of the book- and thought- world of fifteenth- century Florence, particularly as it relates to questions of linguistic and religious diversity and evidence of hostility toward religious ‘others’.