Holding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.
In this week's edition, we hear from Lewis Glinert, Professor of Hebrew Studies in the Middle Eastern Studies program. Glinert is the author of The Story of Hebrew (Princeton University Press, 2017), which, true to its title, tells the sprawling and complex story of the origins, preservation, revival, and present-day usage of the Hebrew language. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award, and named by CHOICE Magazine as one of the "Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017," Glinert's book has won wide critical acclaim.
What is your book about?
I explore the extraordinary hold that Hebrew has had on Jews and Christians, who invested it with symbolic power beyond that of any other language in history.
Where did you get your ideas for this book?
Watching the Emmy Award-winning series "The Story of English", I thought "That's nothing compared with the story of Hebrew..."
What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?
A deck without wifi, some raisins and almonds, and (so 20th century) pen and paper.
What do you think the library of the future will look like?
They'll all be like Sanborn Library, places to curl up with a book.
What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?
Think how many rejections JK Rowling got...
And finally, what do you read for fun?
The Big Book of Jewish Humor by William Novak and Moshe Waldoks.