Religionswissenschaft und Religionsgeschichte



The Book: A New Medium Transforming Religious Knowledge and Tradition | WiSe 2019/20



Seminar at Venice International University

A meeting about the seminar will take place on November 25, 18:15-19:00 via Zoom. Interested parties are very welcome.

Meeting ID: 215 984 5462
Passcode: 747222


Call for Papers for Students

February 22nd-25th 2021

The seminar will be held at LMU University or Venice international University, an international organisation located on the isle of San Servolo in the Venetian lagune. The venue depends on current developments regarding the Covid-pandemic. The seminar is an integral part of the curricula in Theology, the Study of Religion and the other involved disciplines and presented on the LSF platform.

We encourage students in theology, study of religion, history of literature and music, as well as classical philology to apply for this seminar in Venice by sending a brief 1-page abstract for a contribution (e.g. a presentation, a working group or another activity) related to the topic to Deadline is January 8th 2021. There is a possibility to apply for grants to cover travel and accomodation expenses.


During the second half of the 15th century, Venice became one of the most important places for the printing of books. At the beginning of the 16th century almost the half of all such production in Europe took place in Venice. This new medium transformed substantially communication in every domain of society, including, of course, religious communities and traditions.
The invention of printing revolutionized the way knowledge could be stored and disseminated. Not only did it become possible to collect writings in small or larger formats – something possible, though in a much more limited sense, in manuscript traditions. The reduplication and distribution of texts as printed books could reach much wider circles, thus facilitating intercultural activity and understanding in a heretofore unprecedented way. Venice, an international, intercultural place dedicated to travelling and business, not only attracted scholars interested in this new medium, but also the many artisans and tradesmen necessary to develop the new book industry.
The scriptures at the core of Judaism, Christianity and Islam became a focus for exploring possible uses of the new technology. This stimulated the development of new types and forms of printing in order to accommodate different languages and forms of writing. The first printed Talmud and the first printed Qur’an were produced in Venetian workshops, along with a large number of Christian and Hebrew Bibles, along with their translations into several languages, commentaries, and liturgical books. Furthermore, the development of printed music transformed (sacred) practices. Maps also contributed to the transformation of (religious) knowledge, practices and transmission processes in the whole known world. Thus, after the discoveries of other continents at the end of the 15th century, the reach of printing production was rapidly extended in heretofore unprecedented ways. Books both transformed religious communities and interreligious relations and, in turn, created a new basis for the interface between religion, classical literature, philosophy, geography, natural sciences, and the arts.


In the seminar, students and teaching staff (specialists in religious studies, ancient classical and religious world, musicology, 15th-16th century historians, and literary scholars) shall be conducted as follows: The seminar will, as a group, explore the history and contribution of printing in Venice, noting the technology this activity required and taking interest in the kinds of books that were prioritized for developing printing with a special focus on religious literature.
Singly, presentations will be prepared, with academic feedback and advice, on areas such as:

  1. writing as a medium in the ancient world, noting significant shifts and developments in public communication media, including inscriptions, manuscripts, codices, as a prelude to the production of printing technology in the early pre-modern period;
  2. the relationship between the concepts of “scripture” and “materiality,” including the relationship between medium and (sacred) content; the materiality of (religious) scripture (in line with “new/material philology”).
  3. the consequences of “the book” for notions of sacred texts (“canon”), music, art, and political history.

As soon as all the proposals have been collected, we will prepare a programme and contact the students. 



Bertolo, Fabio Massimo, Aretino e la stampa. Strategie di autopromozione a Venezia del cinquecento, Roma: Salerno editrice 2003.
Bonazzi, Nicola, Il carnevale delle idee: l’antipedanteria nell’età della stampa (Venezia, 1538 –1553), Bologna: Gedit edizioni 2007.
Davies, Martin, Aldus Manuntius. Printer and Publisher of Renaissance Venice, Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies 1999.
Fuchs, Franz/Daniels, Tobias, eds., Venedig und der oberdeutsche Buchmarkt um 1500, Harrassowitz: Wiesbaden 2017.
Lied, Liv Ingeborg and Marilena Maniaci, The Bible as Notepad: Tracing Annotations and Annotation Practices in Late Antique and Medieval Biblical Manuscripts, Berlin: de Gruyter 2017 (with introduction to “material philology”.
Marzo Magno, Alessandro, Bound in Venice. The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book, New York: Europa Editions 2013.
Pelusi, Simonetta, ed., Le civiltà del libro e la stampa a Venezia. Testi sacri ebraici, cristiani, islamici dal Quattrocento al Settecento, Padova: Poligrafo 2001.
Pon, Lisa/Kallendorf, Craig, eds., The Books of Venice. Il libro veneziano, Venezia: Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana 2008.


Prof. Dr. Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati, Study of Religion, LMU
Prof. Dr. Susanne Reichlin, German Literature, LMU
Prof. Dr. Andreas Schwab, Greek and Latin Philology, University of Bonn/University of Heidelberg
Prof. Dr. Loren Stuckenbruck, New Testament, LMU
Prof. Dr. Robert Yelle, Study of Religion, LMU