Conference 2009

Hebraic Aspects of the Renaissance

Co-sponsored by the University of Haifa

Conference at University of Haifa, May 11-13, 2009

This international conference will explore the rich and multifaceted interactions of Jewish and Hebraic culture with the Renaissance world, roughly during the period 1350 to 1650. Following several fruitful RSA panels devoted to the theme, we now hope to bring the subject into sharper focus. The encounter between Jews and Christians during the period has been studied by more than a few eminent scholars, from Umberto Cassuto and Cecil Roth onwards. Yet the Jewish reception of humanism and Renaissance culture is still a puzzling question for scholars, as well as the Hebraic or Jewish inspiration of many aspects of Renaissance. We feel that there is a need for more studies which will shed new light on the subject, in two possible ways: 1) by presenting new or little studied sources, which could enrich our understanding of the nature and scope of Jewish-Christian cultural interaction in the Renaissance; 2) by examining familiar topics and figures, using new insights and methods which in recent scholarship have greatly contributed to our conceptualization of the Renaissance – the history of the book, antiquarianism, religious identity, and more.

Suggested (but not exclusive) themes for panels or individual papers:

  • Biblical scholarship
  • Political thought
  • History of the book: printing, book trade, readership
  • Identity, dissimulation, and court culture
  • Geography, cartography, and travel literature
  • Magic and science
  • The new fortune of Kabbalah in the Renaissance
  • Astrology in Christian and Jewish Renaissance literature
  • Judaism in Protestant polemics
  • The study of Jewish myth and ritual
  • Antiquarian scholarship
  • Images of Jews and Judaism in Renaissance literature and visual arts
  • Jewish reception of Renaissance art
  • Jewish literature and the Renaissance tradition
  • Individual paths: e.g. Leone Ebreo, Jean Bodin, John Selden, Hugo Grotius