The course asks the following questions (and more):
How can we locate a particular manuscript within a larger liturgical tradition?
What sorts of information can be gained about a community by looking at a manuscript as a physical object?
What do manuscripts tell us about the experience of medieval Jewish liturgical practice?
What physical changes to manuscripts present problems and opportunities for interpretation?
Acquire knowledge of medieval Asheknazi (originating in the German-speaking lands) and surrounding liturgical traditions
Understand the process of using a manuscript as a material object to understand the history of religious culture
Gain familiarity with a particular manuscript (CAJS Rare MS 382) and its unique features and problems
1. An Introduction to Jewish Prayer Books
2. What Page Layout Can Teach Us about How the Book Was Used
3. Jewish Geography and the Different Prayer Rites
4. Times Were Changing—How about the Manuscript? Reading the Notes Jotted in the Margins
5. Fire and Theft! Interpreting the Scars on the Physical Manuscript
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