Jewish Languages and Book Culture

SKU: BODS-102499

Due for publication 4th July 2024  

From Cairo Genizah to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, the spread of books in Jewish vernacular languages and Hebrew characters offers us an extraordinary insight into the linguistic richness of Jewish life.

For over two millennia, Jewish communities have used languages other than Hebrew for daily oral communication, including Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-French, Judeo-Italian, Yiddish and Ladino. They used the Hebrew alphabet to write these languages down and developed sophisticated systems to transmit texts in them. Many of these vernacular languages became also languages of book culture. Produced and sold cheaply, using the tools of the book cultures of host societies, these publications reached a wide audience.

The Bodleian Libraries’ collections host an unparalleled collection of texts in Judeo-languages, giving us a picture of the works created and of the specific ways in which they were produced and communicated. Since some of the languages are now extinct or moribund, these manuscripts and books are also important testimonies to cultures that are no more. Generously illustrated and ranging in time from the Middle Ages to the Emancipation, this collection of essays showcases important hallmarks in the intellectual and social history of the Jews.

Judith Olszowy-Schlanger is President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. CÉSAR

Merchán-Hamann is the Victor Blank Hebraica and Judaica curator in the Bodleian Library and director of the Leopold Muller Memorial Library at the University of Oxford.

  • Hardback
  • 256 pages, 259 x 237 mm
  • ISBN 9781851246328
  • Publication July 2024


    Related products

    View all
    A Brief History of the Bodleian Library - Revised Edition
    Dr Radcliffe's Library
    New Bodleian - Making the Weston Library
    Left Continue shopping
    Your Order

    You have no items in your cart