Marc Michael Epstein, professor of Religion and Jewish Studies at Vassar, presents a fascinating interpretation of the Birds' Head Haggadah. Who are these strange figures and what is the significance of their bizarre physical appearance within the context of the Haggadah and the broader historical context in which it was created?
The Haggadah has played a central role in Jewish life, in luxurious handwritten manuscripts and finely printed books, as well as editions produced in vast numbers or under harsh circumstances. The exhibition, drawn from the private collection of Stephen P. Durchslag, examines the enduring influence of early printed Haggadot, as well as the adaptability of modern Haggadot responding to political and social developments, such as the Holocaust, secular kibbutzim, gay rights, disability rights, and feminism.
The exhibition, titled “Archetype and Adaptation: Passover Haggadot from the Stephen P. Durchslag Collection” is on view in the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery in the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago from April 2 to May 12, 2012.
The exhibition and lecture series is presented by The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and the Special Collections Research Center.