X Congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies
Paris, France July 20-24, 2014
“Jewish and Non-Jewish Cultures in Contact: New Research Perspectives”
The Tenth Congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies took place in the quartier latin in Paris, from 20th to 24th July 2014. The conference was held in two major French institutions: the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Sorbonne. Just over 700 papers in all fields of Jewish studies were presented in parallel sessions (sixteen at a time). The congress theme was Jewish and Non-Jewish Cultures in Contact: New Research Perspectives.
The Congress attracted an unprecedented number of participants. More than 950 scholars and students from Europe and beyond attended the Congress, more than 700 presented a paper. This massive interest reflects the importance of Jewish Studies in Europe, and underscores the important role the EAJS plays in contributing to scholarly cohesion and networking.
The thematic organization of the sessions and panels was the result of careful planning by the members of the scientific committee. Two hundred and twelve thematic sessions of three or four papers each were held in 16 lecture rooms. Although it was not always possible to create perfectly coherent sessions, and especially to avoid overlap between lectures in the same field, most participants were able to attend a maximum of lectures of interest to them. All fields of Jewish studies were represented, with a particular focus on history and heritage studies, as the following table illustrates.
- Anthropology and sociology of Judaism: 7 participants
- Archaeology of Judaism: 11
- Bible in its Near Eastern Context: 17
- Gender studies: 8
- Late Antiquity: 16
- Middle Ages: 91
- Modernity: 38
- Contemporary (Eastern Europe): 37
- Contemporary (Western Europe): 34
- Israel: 19
- History of Jewish Law and Law applied to the Jews: 16
- History of sciences: 10
- Exegesis: 3
- Talmud and Rabbinics: 57
- Second Temple and Late Antiquity: 9
- Medieval Hebrew literature and poetry: 29
- Liturgy: 3
- Qumran: 6
- Modern Hebrew Literature: 21
- Hebrew language and linguistics: 16
- Jewish languages and linguistics: 56
- Jewish minorities: 9
- Musicology: 7
- New technologies applied to Jewish studies: 6
- Jewish archives: 12
- Jewish art: 32
- History of Hebrew book: 31
- Jewish Thought:
- Hassidism: 1
- mysticisme and Kabbala: 38
- theological thought: 18
- philosophy: 21
- Shoah and antisemitism: 22
TOTAL : 702
The evenings and Wednesday afternoon were dedicated to keynote lectures, round tables and special events.
On July 20, 2014 the Congress was opened with an Opening Ceremony that included speeches by Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, President of the EAJS 2010-2014 and organiser of the Tenth Congress, Professor Marie-Christine Lemardeley (Maire Adjointe de Paris), Professor and Chef Rabbi René-Samuel Sirat, Professor Hubert Bost (Président de l’EPHE), Professor Jean-Marie Le Gall (Directeur de l’UFR Histoire de Paris 1), Professor Martin Goodman (University of Oxford) and Professor Mireille Hadas-Lebel (Université Paris 4).
A concert of medieval Jewish music of Northern France by the ensemble Alla Francesca, introduced by a lecture of Professor Colette Sirat: “Jews and trouvères in the 13th century,” concluded the ceremony.
The following keynote lectures were delivered during the Congress:
- Geoffrey Khan and Ben Outhwaite, “The Reception of Biblical Hebrew in the Middle Ages”
- Anthony T. Grafton and Joanna Weinberg, “Compilation and Observation in Johann Buxtorf’s Synagogue of the Jews”
- Fishman: “Our Inheritance, our Yerusha: Securing the Jewish Documentary Legacy in Europe” (Launching ‘Yerusha’ Programme of the Rothschild Foundation Europe)
- Francesca Trivellato, “Jewish Christian Credit Relations and the Economic History of Modern Europe”
- Yaakov Shavit, “The Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible: Worlds Apart?”
In a special lecture at the Closing Ceremony, AB Yehoshua addressed the topic, “From Mythology to History: Journey to the End of the Millennium.”
Two Round Tables allowed for an in-depth disciplinary reflection:
- “Hebrew manuscripts and collections as a meeting point between the cultures” (organised by Colette Sirat)
- “Teaching Jewish Studies: Issues, Challenges and Solutions” (organised by A. Houtman)
- Opening Ceremony, Réfectoire des Cordeliers, 20 July 2014
- Cocktail, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme, 23 July 2014
- Closing Ceremony, Mairie du Ve arrondissement de Paris, 24 July 2014
An important feature of the Congress was the place reserved for doctoral students and young researchers. Their papers were systematically integrated into sessions alongside papers by established scholars in the various fields; a special round table on the subject of funding in Jewish Studies was organized by the EAJS (under the responsibility of Prof. Philip Alexander) for their benefit, and their participation in the Congress was facilitated by reduced Congress fees, travel grants and the possibility to book cheap students’ accommodation on the site of the Congress, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.
The EAJS Congress was locally managed by a consortium of French academic institutions, with the financial and logistic support of several state, academic and private bodies and foundations. The main organizing institutions were the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the History Department of the University Paris 1-Sorbonne. In addition, the EAJS Congress received support of the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO-CERMOM), University Paris 8, Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Sciences Sociales, Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes (IRHT-CNRS), project RELMIN of the University of Nantes, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Alliance Israélite Universelle and Bibliothèque Mazarine. The Congress was funded in part by the Rothschild Foundation Europe, the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, Fondation du Judaïsme Français, Ville de Paris, Région Ile de France, Société des études juives, the French Friends of the Hebrew University Association and the Mayor of the Vth district of Paris. Colleagues of many Parisian and French universities and research institutes contributed to the scientific organization of the project through the participation of their staff in the scientific committee of the Congress. Indeed, the scientific organization of the Congress was entrusted to a scientific committee of 30 scholars belonging to main French universities and research institutions who were further assisted by other European specialists in the relevant fields. Administratively, the Congress was managed by a team of three coordinators (Yonith Benhamou, David Lemler and Judith Schlanger). For the duration of the Congress (20-24 July), a team of 20 volunteers (doctoral students and young researchers in Hebrew and Jewish studies) coordinated by Sarah Fargeon took care of the smooth running of the Congress.
President of the EAJS 2010-2014