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Introduction: “Books within Βooks”—The State of Research and New Perspectives

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Chapter Summary

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in Books within Books. This book is the second collection of interdisciplinary articles in this emerging field of research, representing current scholarship and its international scope. The corpus of medieval fragments has a unique potential to help reconstruct the exact scope of Jewish literacy and its role as a distinctive feature shaping Jewish identity in respect to the non-Jewish majority culture. Jewish minorities in medieval Europe are usually portrayed as highly literate communities. The systematic study of the fragments of Hebrew manuscripts is an essential contribution for the study of the extent and distribution of reading and writing skills in the West. Public reading from a Pentateuch (Torah) scroll was a religious requirement expected of all Jewish males.

Keywords: Hebrew manuscripts; Jewish literacy; medieval Europe; Middle Ages

10.1163/9789004258501_002
/content/books/b9789004258501_002
dcterms_subject,pub_keyword
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