This talk will tell two stories: the history of a South German illustrated Passover Haggadah from the late Middle Ages with a lengthy prologue by a contemporary 15th century friar, and the tale of how three modern scholars unraveled its complicated and astounding history.

About the Speaker: DAVID M. STERN is Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature at the University of Pennsylvania where he served for many years as Director of the Jewish Studies Program. Stern earned his PhD at Harvard University where he was a Junior Fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows. He has received awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the American Philosophical Society. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research.

Stern’s fields of specialization are classical Jewish literature and religion and the history of the Jewish book. He is the author of eight books including Parables in Midrash: Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature (Harvard University Press, 1994); Rabbinic Fantasies: Imaginative Narratives from Classical Hebrew Literature (Yale University Press, 1998), and Midrash and Theory: Ancient Jewish Exegesis and Contemporary Literary Studies (Northwestern University Press, 1996). He is currently working on a book entitled The Jewish Library: Four Jewish Classics and the Jewish Experience which traces the history of the physical forms of the Talmud, the Rabbinic Bible, the Prayerbook, and the Passover Haggadah, and the ways in which those forms have shaped the meaning and significance of these classic Jewish books.