Carlo Ginzburg: Jews and Christians - A Story of Ambivalence

Lisa Jardine, Carlo Ginzburg


Carlo Ginzburg, the pioneer of “micro-history”, is considered by many to be the outstanding European historian of his generation. Best known for The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller, an account of a villager burned at the stake for heresy. Ginzburg came to Jewish Book Week to talk with fellow Renaissance scholar Lisa Jardine about the relations between Christians and Jews since early modern times.

In Threads and Traces: True False Fictive, this profoundly original thinker bears moving witness to his life as a European Jew. His experience growing up in fascist Italy in World War Two provided the background for what Ginzburg has called his “emotional identification with victims of persecution… an unconscious projection of my Jewish identity, which persecution had reinforced”.

His latest essay collection attests to his abiding scholarship and deep engagement with the historian’s craft, asking challenging questions about the boundaries between history, truth, fiction and memory.

Lisa Jardine

Lisa Jardine CBE is Professor of Renaissance Studies at University College London and Director of the UCL Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities, and the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Fellow of King\'s College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge. Since 2008 she has served as Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the UK government regulator for assisted reproduction. In 2013-14 she will serve as President of the British Science Association, which in 2012 made her an Honorary Fellow.

Carlo Ginzburg

Carlo Ginzburg was instrumental in calling on the Vatican to open the Roman Inquisition archives, to which scholars were eventually admitted in the late 1990s. Recipient of numerous prizes, including the 2010 Balzan Prize for European History (1400-1700), Ginzburg is retired from Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy.