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The seminar investigates the roles of literacy and writing in religious traditions.  Its goal is to serve as a research group for the comparative study of literacy and the uses of writing as a form of communication technology in world religions.  Approaching the relationship between religion and writing through the lenses of literacy and communication technology, the seminar strives to address all media – from inscriptions on stone and clay tablets to internet websites – and all literary genres – from myths and commentaries to divine revelations and hymns – as well as the theoretical and practical implications of the absence, or rejection, of writing.

Seminar Blog

Elizabeth Powers

Dagmar Riedel

Anya Wilkening

All seminars will meet over Zoom for the 2020-2021 academic year. Meeting links provided upon RSVP. Meeting dates and times are subject to change. 

Meeting Schedule

10/01/2020 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Creating a Sufi Hagiography in the Mughal World: ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Chishtī’s Mirʾāt-i Madārī (1654)
Ute Falasch, Independent Scholar (Germany)

10/29/2020 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
A Late Manuscript, an Old Debate: Economy, Society and Political Authority in A Late Manuscript, an Old Debate: A Juridical Question of Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī (d. 790/1388) about Economy, Society and Political Authority in the Premodern Islamic West
Adday Hernández López, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain)

11/12/2020 Online Meeting
5:30 PM
“Words of a Desperate Man”: Poetics and Cultural Identity in a Late Medieval Hebrew Rhyming Dictionary from the Crown of Aragon
Jill Ross, University of Toronto (Canada)

12/09/2020 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Isaac of Corbeil’s Pillar of Exile: A Thirteenth Century Plan of Public Education through Liturgy and Law
Judah Galinsky, Bar-Ilan University (Israel)

02/11/2021 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Found in Translation: The “Makers” and Making of the Welles-Ros Bible
Kathryn Smith, New York University

03/17/2021 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
The Manuscript Tradition of the Islamic West: Maghribī Round Scripts and the Andalusī Identity
Umberto Bongianino, University of Oxford (England, UK)

04/21/2021 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
The Bible and the Banker's Box: Ornament and Meaning in the Carpet Pages of Sephardic Codices
Julie A. Harris, Independent Scholar