Publishing Books in Early Modern Jewish Prague

12 December 2017 - 5 PM

Olga Sixtová (Charles University, Prague)

What factors and who determined the literature to be published in early modern Jewish Prague? Like their readers, the publishers of Jewish literature (often not the same people as the printers) were “children of their time” and though they sometimes introduced new authors, new ideas, new genres or new knowledge, they always published what interested them and what they expected their readers to appreciate and buy. After all, though a “holy” business, publishing was first and foremost a business. But publishers and printers also had to accommodate the ideological positions of the chief rabbinate whose interventions in the publishing business become more visible upon closer study of the paratexts and sequence of the titles published over time.

The content of the vast majority of the books in this period is religious. The publishers expressly hoped to bestow the spiritual merit of the texts on the public and thus to accelerate Redemption. What remains individual is the choice of the text that was to contribute to this ultimate aim. Here, one can discern different inclinations among different publishers, diverse interests of various strata of Jewish society, and also changes in spiritual and intellectual trends throughout the period


Modern Jewish History Seminar

The seminar is intended to provide a platform for academic discussion about the latest research on Jewish history especially of the last three centuries. Though primarily focused on the Jews of central and east central Europe, the seminar also includes topics related to the Jews of other regions. The seminar is further enriched by including topics not directly concerned with Jews, but enabling one to see Jewish history from other perspectives (for instance, the perspective of other marginalized communities).

Despite our preference for the methods of historical research, the organizers welcome multidisciplinary approaches to the topics, including those of sociology, political science, religious studies, and art history.

The seminar is held in the library of CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1 always at 5:30 p.m. The language of the seminar is English. The seminar is organized by Kateřina Čapková and Michal Frankl. Since 2018/2019 the seminar is included into the MA program of the Prague Center for Jewish Studies at the Charles University. Due to Michal Frankl’s stay abroad this academic year, all the questions and suggestions should be sent to Kateřina Čapková (