The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn brings manuscript culture, modern technology and people together.


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The “Genizah Scribes at Work”, a lecture by Judith Olszowy-Schlanger

“The Genizah Scribes at Work,” a lecture by Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, Professor of Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic Manuscript Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), Paris, was delivered April 25, 2018, at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts.

In this lecture sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Judith Olszowy-Schlanger explored the social status, training, and working conditions of the scribes who produced the manuscripts found in the Cairo Geniza, a treasure trove of over 300,000 sacred and secular documents produced from the 10th to the 13th centuries and preserved for centuries in the attic of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat (Old Cairo), Egypt, until its dispersal among libraries around the world.

Professor Olszowy-Schlanger brings to life a wealth of information buried in what she describes as “a necropolis of discarded books, contracts, and letters.” By examining the physical evidence left behind in the mass of discarded documents, she uncovers the habits and practices of scribes of all types—from professionals to “mediocre hacks” to scholars producing their own libraries—in order to demonstrate the rich and complicated nature of Jewish book production in the Middle Ages. Her study ranges across the spectrum of manuscript production: from fragments revealing the time-consuming, lavish production of prayer books to a twelfth-century scribe’s diary containing drafts of legal documents and the remnants of young students attempts to learn how to write their alphabets.

The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies/Herbert D. Katz Center Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Manuscript Studies fellowship is supported in part by the David B. Ruderman Distinguished Scholar fund.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 224 – Expositio in libros Posteriorum Aristotelis

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 224,  Expositio in libros Posteriorum Aristotelis, by Paolo, Veneto. This manuscript was written in Italy between 1425 and 1475, in Latin, and it is a commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior analytics, in which syllogistic reasoning is applied to scientific proof or demonstration.

You can see the full online facsimile of this work at Penn in Hand  and you can download all of the images and metadata at OPenn. You can also download a copy of this video from ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 238 – Assise of all manner of breade

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 238, Assise of all man[n]er of breade. This manuscript, written in Winchester in the 16th century, is a table of prescribed weights for varieties of loaves for different prices of wheat. It bears the heading The statute of wynchestre.

You can see the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand and you can download all of the images and metadata  at OPenn. You can also download a copy of this video from ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository.

 


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The 2017–2018 SIMS-Herbert D. Katz Center Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Manuscript Studies lecture by Alessandro Guetta

“‘No Longer Alien Residents’: Italian Jewish Texts in the Late Renaissance,” a lecture by Professor Alessandro Guetta, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris.

Delivered February 27, 2018, at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts.

In this lecture sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Alessandro Guetta discusses early modern translations of Hebrew texts into Italian and Judeo-Italian, a language written and spoken by Italian Jews from the 13th to the 19th centuries.

Professor Guetta begins by positioning his work as a response to a lack of cultural and literary studies of these translations. Through a series of case studies, he argues that despite ongoing social segregation, Jewish writers were integrated within Italian society through their use of a common language, namely the Tuscan dialect that was becoming the national standard. In a period characterized by complex and creative literary production in both languages, a skillful adaptation of a Hebrew text into Italian allowed readers to appreciate the beauty of the text in both languages, and heightened their sense of its spiritual and intellectual meanings. Thus Prof. Guetta concludes that Italian was “not less beloved than Hebrew,” and encouraged his audience to seek out the unedited Italian and Judeo-Italian literary manuscripts from this period.

The link to the lecture on the SIMS YouTube channel is https://youtu.be/M6pwRWVISHQ.

The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies/Herbert D. Katz Center Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Manuscript Studies fellowship is supported in part by the David B. Ruderman Distinguished Scholar fund.


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 172 – Tabulae directionum et profectionum

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 172, Tabulae directionum et profectionum, by Joannes Regiomontanus. This manuscript was written in Austria or Hungary, circa 1476, in Latin, and it includes astronomical tables of declinations and ascensions and a table of sines, copied not long after their completion by Regiomontanus in 1467.

You can see the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand and you can download all of the images metadata from OPenn. You can also download a copy of this video from ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 231 – Statutum habelle communum…

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 231, Statutum habelle communum. Written in Latin in Barga, Italy after 1346, this manuscript of 49 chapters includes regulations concerning the amount of tax (gabella or gabelle) and the conditions under which duty must be paid on internal and external trade in cloth of various kinds and from various sources.

You can see the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand and you can download all of the images metadata from OPenn. You can also download a copy of this video from ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 97 – Eis ta harmonika Ptolemaiou hypomnēma

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 97, Eis ta harmonika Ptolemaiou hypomnēma, byPorphyry . This manuscript was written in Spain or Italy, between 1560 and 1580, in Greek, and it contains Porphyry’s commentary on about half of Ptolemy’s treatise Harmonics, focusing on harmonics and acoustics.

You can see the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand and you can download all of the images and metadata from OPenn. You can also download a copy of this video from ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository.