History of the Book Lecture: David Stern

David Stern, University of Pennsylvania

David Stern, University of Pennsylvania

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
History of the Book Program

Through the Pages of the Past: The Jewish Book in Its Historical Contexts
David Stern, University of Pennsylvania

The Jews are commonly known as “the people of the book,” and Jewish culture is invariably associated with bookishness and textuality. Stern argues that the book is not a native entity to the Jews but that it becomes one in the course of Jewish history, and that far from distinguishing Jewish uniqueness, the material shape of the book always mirrors the host cultures in which Jews have lived for nearly two thousand years in their various diasporas. To argue this point, Stern will focus on the history of that most “Jewish” of all Jewish texts, the typical page of the Talmud with its unusual typographic layout.

Learn more about the Center for Renaissance Studies’ History of the Book Lectures.