CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR FELLOWSHIPS
CLOSING DATE: 5 January 2018
In recent years it has become increasingly clear that the study of Judaism in the early modern period cannot be undertaken without setting it in a comparative context of the history of religion. One work, a monumental production in six volumes, epitomizes this cultural phenomenon, and may be claimed to be the culmination of a century and more of Christian engagement with Jewish sources. Between 1698 and 1703 Wilhelmus Surenhusius printed a Hebrew /Latin edition of the ancient corpus of Jewish law, the Mishnah, equipped with Latin translations of all sixty-three tractates, as well as the commentaries of Maimonides and Obadiah of Bertinoro, and those of a variety of Christian scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Seminar will bring together an international team of scholars to interpret the significance of Surenhusius’ Mishnah edition in the light of two centuries of study of the Mishnah both by Christians and Jews. In an attempt to decode this document both from the perspective of authors and readers we will set it in its historical context, a time of significant demographic change in which the search for religious identity and the growth of new religious communities is particularly conspicuous. We will examine the intellectual biographies of the individuals whose works are appropriated by Surenhusius in order to plot the development of this type of ‘ecumenical’ scholarship over two centuries. In this way we will also be able to establish the network of scholars that this work represents. Included in its prefatory material is the Oxford scholar Edward Bernard’s letter addressed to the Archbishop Narcissus Marsh—it is in essence a eulogy over William Guise, who was a key figure in Surenhusius’ enterprise. In addition, the project will include a study of the landmark edition of Oxford’s first Professor of Arabic, Edward Pococke, whose Porta Mosis (1655) introduced readers to Maimonides’ Arabic commentary on the Mishnah for the first time.
Visiting Fellows will receive an allowance of £2,515 (pro rata) per calendar month for the period of their tenure. Travelling expenses up to £550 pounds sterling will also be provided, and Fellows will be provided with a college association during their time at Oxford. Applicants should indicate the specific research they would undertake in the course of Fellowship and how this research would contribute to the broader work of the project. Applications by senior scholars, and by scholars at postdoctoral and advanced doctoral level, are welcome.
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