JTS Hereld Institute of Learning in Jacksonville Presents “From Mishnah to Microsoft": Ancient Texts Encounter Technological Change

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

October 31, 2008, Jacksonville, FL

An exploration of the encounters between the holy texts of ancient Judaism and the history of technological change will be the focus of a presentation by Dr. Jonathan Milgram, assistant professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary.

The program, "Memory, Manuscript, and Modernization: From Mishnah to Microsoft," is being sponsored by JTS’s Hereld Institute of Learning and will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 16 at the Jacksonville Jewish Center, 3662 Crown Point Road, Jacksonville.

In antiquity, Talmudic texts were memorized and transmitted orally by Jewish sages. In the medieval period, these same texts were copied by scribes on parchment. For 500 years, printing was the dominant method of transmission. Today, members of the Talmud faculty of JTS have pioneered creating databases to preserve and transmit these texts in the prevalent medium of our age, computerization.

Before coming to JTS, Dr. Milgram taught at Hunter College, Drisha Institute, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and served as professor at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and London School for Jewish Studies (formerly Jews’ College) in England. He is the former coordinator of JTS’s Saul Lieberman Institute for Talmudic Research, a research institute dedicated to the computerization of medieval Jewish manuscripts, and recently was on the editorial staff of the Encyclopedia Judaica, second edition.

Dr. Milgram’s research interests and publications deal with Talmud criticism, medieval Jewish law, and the intersection of these two fields. He is currently working on a book about inheritance law. Dr. Milgram holds BA degrees from Columbia University and JTS. He earned his MA and rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University and his PhD from Bar Ilan University in Israel.

This program is being made possible by a generous grant from the Hereld Institute for Jewish Studies of JTS.

The community is invited to attend. The program is free, but reservations are required. For further information and to RSVP, contact Carolyn Kantor, director of JTS’s Florida Region, at (561) 852-3454.