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  • The Renaissance Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books, a lecture by David Price

    Today! April 13, 2011, 3:00 PM
    Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 346 Main Library

    The Renaissance Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books
    A lecture by David Price
    Professor of Religious Studies
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, Miracle within a Miracle: Johannes Reuchlin and the Jewish Book Controversy, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of Reuchlins defense of Jewish writings.

    The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the inaugural venue for an exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary of the publication of Johannes Reuchlins Augenspiegel (Eye Glasses), a work written in opposition to an imperial mandate to destroy all Jewish books. Reuchlins impassioned and ultimately successful defense of Jewish writings and legal rights represents a stunning intervention by a Christian scholar later acknowledged by a Jewish leader as a miracle within a miracle.

    The exhibition is an international effort involving two American libraries and two German institutions.  The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois and the Klau Library of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati have organized the exhibition with the Museum Johannes Reuchlin in Pforzheim, Reuchlin’s birthplace, and with the Jewish Museum of Frankfurt, Germany, the city where book confiscations took place 500 years ago. Curated by David Price, author of Johannes Reuchlin and the Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books (Oxford UP, 2011) and Valerie Hotchkiss, Head of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Illinois, the exhibition opens in Urbana on 13 April 2011 and will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Pforzheim, Germany, before culminating in Frankfurt at the Jewish Museum during the International Frankfurt Book Fair.  Rare imprints from the pamphlet wars surrounding the Jewish Book Controversy will be on display, as well as important works on both sides of the Renaissance humanist movement to recover ancient sources, including the Hebrew language. The exhibition explores anti-Semitism in the age of printing, Christian Hebrew studies, the early 16th-century campaign (centered in Frankfurt) to destroy Jewish books, and Johannes Reuchlin’s defense of Jewish books, traditions, and civil rights.

    Free and open to the public.