(The Sword of Judith continued)
The Book of Judith tells the story of a fictitious Jewish woman beheading the general of the most powerful imaginable army to free her people. The parabolic story was set as an example of how God will help the righteous. Judith's heroic action was appropriated by many Christian and secular groupings, and has been an inspiration for numerous literary texts and works of art. It continues to exercise its power over artists, authors and academics and is becoming a specialized interdisciplinary field of research in its own right.
The Judith Project at the New York Public Library
The Judith Project: Expanding the Boundaries of Disciplinarity Through Collaborative Scholarly Practice was founded and directed by Kevin to enhance scholarship on The Book of Judith through multidisciplinary collaboration and the application of technology. Professor Clifford Siskin, NYU, helped Kevin conceptualize the project and administer it through all its phases. Approximately 30 international scholars were selected by an academic panel to participate in the Sword of Judith Conference held at the New York Public Library on April 17-18, 2008. Participants presented their ongoing work for collaboration and exchange at the conference and subsequently continued their research in libraries and museums in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Research was conducted on Judith as a subject in classical and baroque music and dance; the emergence of the theme of Judith in Yiddish literature; the resurgent interest in Judith in the 19th and 20th centuries; the relationship of The Book of Judith to the Jewish and Christian canons; the Mary/Judith typology; and the interpretation of Judith in Jewish, Christian, and secular literature, manuscript illuminations, and works of art.
The ARTSTOR Digital Library Judith and Holofernes Collection
In collaboration with The Judith Project Artstor shares a themed digital collection of approximately 300 images based on the Biblical story of Judith and Holofernes across many periods and a wide range of media, including the unprecedented publication of narrative sequences in stained glass, relief sculpture and book illustrations. The collection is sponsored by a grant from the Jessica E. Smith and Kevin R. Brine Charitable Trust, and complements the approximately 330 existing images in various other collections in the Digital Library that depict figures and events from the Old Testament's Book of Judith. According to the Book of Judith, the widow Judith saved the besieged city of Bethulia by decapitating the enemy general Holofernes, thereby enabling her Israelite countrymen to defeat the invading Assyrians. The powerful appeal to the visual imagination of the Judith narrative has inspired and challenged Western scribes, illustrators, draftsmen, painters, and sculptors for two millennia. Judith was portrayed by Dante in The Divine Comedy and Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales; medieval depictions of the narrative cycle may be found in stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and relief sculptures at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Rouen; Renaissance and baroque depictions of Judith abound, including works by artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Donatello, Artemisia Gentileschi, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Giorgione, Andrea Mantegna, Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Paolo Veronese; and in the 20th century, the theme was treated by Austrian expressionists, French surrealists, and contemporary feminist and conceptual artists.
The ArtStor Judith and Holofernes Collection is available here: