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“Go Forth and Learn:” A Discussion on Artist Joel ben Simeon and His Newly Discovered Hebrew Manuscript

Thursday, October 22
1 – 2 p.m.

The discovery of a new manuscript with more than 300 drawings by Joel ben Simeon, a 15th-century Jewish scribe and illuminator, prompts a reassessment of his career at a time of great religious uncertainty, economic opportunity, and cultural exchange. Born in Germany, where he trained as an artist and scribe and from where he was probably expelled, ben Simeon spent most of his itinerant career in the book arts in Northern Italy. We perhaps know more about him—from his colophons and signed works—than any other illuminator-scribe, Jewish or Christian, in the 15th century. In one manuscript, he depicts himself as a traveler next to the words, “Go forth and learn,” which we hope to accomplish in this webinar.

Keynote: Professor Katrin Kogman-Appel, University of Muenster, Institut fur Judische Studien, previously taught at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (1996-2015). Kogman-Appel has been published extensively on medieval Jewish art and book culture and is particularly interested in Hebrew manuscript illumination and its cultural and social contexts.

Professor Lucia Raspe, Goethe Universitaet, Frankfurt am Main. Raspe has been published widely on late medieval and early modern Jewish communities, including the migration of German Jews to Italy and on manuscript and print culture.

This event is a joint program between Fordham Jewish Studies and Les Enluminures. It was organized by Sandra Hindman, professor emerita of art history at Northwestern University and president and founder of Les Enluminures, and Sharon Liberman Mintz, curator of Jewish art at the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary and senior consultant on Judaica at Sotheby’s.


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.