Bibliotheca Hebraica Atlantica
Bibliotheca Hebraica Atlantica

The presence of Latin and Greek texts as well as Hebrew Bibles in colonial American libraries is well documented. What lacks systematic documentation are other kinds of Oriental, Hebraic and rabbinic texts that shared the shelves with them. This project aims to explore volumes of such texts that crossed the Atlantic during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and were available as reading materials in institutional and private libraries. Though hidden in plain sight, recognition of these libraries of “Christian rabbinism” - that is, Christian interest in post-Biblical Jewish history and in comparative Semitic scholarship, and its arrival in the Western Hemisphere - requires a shift of attention that now has become possible thanks to a new generation of research on the subject. Christian learning about Judaism as a chapter in the early modern history of scholarship, however, has mainly focused on the European context. How and when this prodigious output, this first wave of scholarly migration, crossed the Atlantic and took root in the colonial Americas still remains to be framed.

Project Team and Advisors:
  • John Pollack
  • Curator, Research Services
  • Peter Stallybrass
  • Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English
  • Michelle Chesner
  • Norman E. Alexander Librarian for Jewish Studies, Columbia University Libraries
  • Arthur Kiron
  • Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections
  • James Green
  • Librarian, Library Company of Pennsylvania
  • Staff
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • Jesús de Prado Plumed
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Oliver Mitchell-Boyask
  • Intern, National Museum of American Jewish History (2017)