Qabbalat Shabbat: Friday, 6:00 p.m. Torah Study: Saturday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Weekday Minyan: 6:15 p.m.

Medieval Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts

Taught by Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis

Thursdays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
4 sessions, October 29 – November 19
Online class via Zoom. Registration Required.

In this four-part class, we will study the art and context of Hebrew manuscript illumination in medieval Europe. We’ll learn about medieval manuscripts in general before focusing on Hebrew manuscripts in particular, examining halachic regulations, stylistic influences from the Christian world, and the particularly Jewish artform of micrography. We will follow the post-medieval lives of Hebrew manuscripts – victims, certainly, of crusades, pogroms, and modern book-burnings, but also secreted away, passed from hand to hand, and cherished. In the final class, we will focus on one manuscript in particular as a case study, the extraordinary Sarajevo Haggadah (known to many as the star of Geraldine Brook’s novel The People of the Book).

This class qualifies for the “Bible, Rabbinics, and Philosophy” or “Justice, Politics, and Contemporary Issues” categories of the Chochmat Lev, A Learned Heart Certificate.

To join us, please register with the form below, and the Zoom link will be shared in your confirmation email. Contact Brigid Goggin with any questions at

Meet the Instructor: Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis

Lisa Fagin Davis received her PhD in Medieval Studies from Yale University in 1993. She has catalogued medieval manuscript collections at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Walters Art Museum, Wellesley College, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Boston Public Library, and several private collections. With Melissa Conway, Davis is co-author of the Directory of Pre-1600 Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, published online by the Bibliographical Society of America. In 2016, she co-curated the major exhibition “Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections” at the Houghton Library at Harvard University, the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She is currently undertaking a detailed paleographical study of the Voynich Manuscript (Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 408).

Dr. Davis teaches Latin Paleography at Yale University and Manuscript Studies at the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science. She has served as Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America since 2013. Follow her on Twitter @LisaFDavis.

Class Registration

The Center for Adult Jewish Learning follows a “Pay What You Can” model for registration. To register for this class, please select “Add” for each attendee you wish to register at the pricing level of your choice, then click “Proceed to Payment” to complete registration.

“Pay What You Can” Registration Details:
-Standard Registration is set at $25 per class session.
-Supporter Registration is set at $35 per class session. This level is for those who are able to contribute more to help keep our programs accessible for all.
-Reduced Registration is set at $10 per session. This level is for those who wish to participate but may find the Standard Registration fee prohibitive.

We also offer scholarships. To learn more about scholarships, or to register for this class by phone and/or pay by check, please contact Brigid Goggin at