Keynote Fania Oz-Salzberger Jews and Words: A Universal Proposal for Textual Nationhood
KBC Tower/Wed 17 Sept/14.30 > 16.30
Early socialization to literacy, debate, text-based national memory and interpretation-based faith enabled the survival of Jews as a stateless people in premodern and early modern times. In particular, family homes were hubs of learning alongside the traditional centers of scholarship, the school and the synagogue. Consequently, Jewish culture allowed almost all men, as well as many women, direct access to written texts, to critical reading and to creative intellectual exchange. This lecture will offer a discussion the "textual nationhood" of the Jews, and go on to suggest that their premodern strategy of cultural survival carries universal significance today: it may offer non-Jews as well as Jews a toolbox for memory-based creativity, inter-generational conversation, and the quest for a non-aggressive sense of cultural belonging.
Respondent: Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp)
Keynote Elaine Treharne Inhabited Objects: Lifting the Spirits of Manuscript Technology
University of Antwerp/K.001/Thur 18 Sept/13.00 > 14.00
A phenomenological approach to books, particularly one following the thinking of early twentieth-century philosophers, would perceive book-objects not only perspectivally, but also with the broader understanding that as with all objects, books are ‘inhabited’ and potentially immanent. This paper will examine some inhabitants of manuscripts, manuscripts written both in the distant past and from closer times, to trace the histories of lives otherwise unrevealed. What this examination demonstrates is that book history, when it is focused almost exclusively on print culture, presents only a partial picture of the history it claims to depict. Once the acoustic ghosts encountered through manuscript are recognized, another, more complete world of books is revealed, which insists on revisions to the ways in which texts’ physical contexts are viewed and apprehended.