The Role of Wissenschaft des Judentums in Shaping Jewish Identity

On March 1, 2015, the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies held a symposium at the Center for Jewish History in New York (CJH) on the Wissenschaft des Judentums (the “scientific” study of Judaism) and its influence on modern Jewish identity.

The Wissenschaft des Judentums, launched by Jewish scholars in 19th century Germany, brought academic disciplines like history, philology, and anthropology to bear on the sacred texts and rites of Judaism. This enterprise not only formed the basis of modern academic Jewish studies, but also shaped the manifold understanding and practice of Judaism as it exists today.

1:30 PM
Introduction (0:00)
Welcome and Presentation of the Leo Baeck Medal by Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel to Prof. Ismar Schorsch (3:10)

1:40 PM
Opening Remarks on the Wissenschaft by Prof. Ismar Schorsch (16:25)

1:50 PM Panel I: Wissenschaft des Judentums and Contemporary Jewish Identity

Chairperson—Andreas Brämer (Institute for the History of German Jews, Hamburg) (27:40)

Christian Wiese (Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main)
The impact of the Wissenschaft on academic Jewish culture and identity among Jewish scholars (30:30)

Mirjam Thulin (Institute of European History, Mainz)
The Wissenschaft and the definition of religiously liberal Jewish identity (45:50)

Yitzhak Conforti (Bar-Ilan University)
The impact of the Wissenschaft on Jewish nationalism and Zionism (59:45)

3:15 PM Panel II—Wissenschaft des Judentums and Contemporary Jewish Culture

Chairperson—David Sorkin (Yale University) (87:30)

Gavriel Rosenfeld, “If Only We had Died in Egypt: What-Ifs of Jewish History from Abraham to Zionism” (Fairfield University) (90:10)

Annie Polland, The Tenement Museum (Lower East Side Tenement Museum) (103:35)

Jonathan Rosen, The limitations of teaching Jewish knowledge in contemporary culture (Nextbook Press) (117:30)

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Yael Zerubavel – 2009 Stroum Lectures: Encounters with the Past

Professor Yael Zerubavel (Rutgers University) delivered the 2009 Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies at the University of Washington: “Encounters with the Past: Remembering the Bygone in Israeli Culture”.

Professor Zerubavel examines the construction and reconstruction of collective memory. The first lecture examines the use of antiquity for Zionist and nationalist interests in modern Israel.

Lecture 1: “Bridges to Antiquity”

Lecture 2: “Mirrors of Galut (Exile) in the Homeland”

Lecture 3: “When the New Becomes Old”

 

 

Bible, Empire, and Reception History conference – Live Streaming November 18-19, 2015

bible-empire-reception-history

Columbia Theological Seminary announced that it will livestream its upcoming conference on Bible, Empire, and Reception History during November 18-19. The Bible, Empire, and Reception History conference will explore the production and use of the Bible in various historical and geographic contexts of empire. It will consider the use of postcolonial criticism in interpreting biblical texts and its implications in modern contexts.
Columbia Connections

The live stream will be available on LiveStream. Columbia Theological Seminary (Georgia, Atlanta) is in the U.S. Eastern Standard Time zone (UTC/GMT -5 hours). The conference schedule is as follows:

8:30-9:00, Wednesday, November 18
Welcome, Introductions and Key Issues

9:00-12:30, Wednesday, November 18
Session # 1. The Bible and Ancient Empires
Keynote Speakers: Carol A. Newsom and Richard Horsley
Respondents: Warren Carter and Esther Menn
Panelists: Christine Yoder (Presider), Stephen Moore, Brent Strawn, Eric Barreto

2:00-5:30, Wednesday, November 18
Session # 2. The Bible, Empire, and the Americas
Keynote Speakers: Yvonne Sherwood and Jaime Lara
Respondents: Fernando Segovia and Rhondda Robinson Thomas
Panelists: Brennan Breed (Presider), Ana T. Valdez, Dianne Stewart, Gregory Cuéllar

9:00-12:30, Thursday, November 19
Session # 3. The Bible, Empire, and Asia
Keynote Speakers: Kwok Pui-Lan and Mitri Raheb
Respondents: Tat-Siong Benny Liew and Mrinalini Sebastian
Panelists: Raj Nadella (Presider), Jin Young Choi, Uriah Kim, Haruko Ward

2:00-5:30, Thursday, November 19
Session # 4. The Bible, Empire, and Africa
Keynote Speakers: Musa Dube and Hendrik Bosman
Respondents: Dora Mbuwayesango and Sarojini Nadar
Panelists: Emmanuel Lartey (Presider), Temba Mafico, Safwat Marzouk, Madipoane Masenya

Columbia have also made available videos of the conference presentations.

 

Sean Durbin on Myth-Making and Identity Formation on a Christian Zionist Tour of Israel

Dr. Sean Durbin (University of Newcastle) explores the use of religious language on a Christian Zionist tour of Israel. The talk was delivered on July 16, 2015 at the University of Auckland. It is available in mp3 audio format and as a podcast from Auckland Religion.

sean-durbin-zionism

This talk critically examines the ways that evangelical pastors and Israeli tour guides employ religious language at various sites of interest on a Christian Zionist tour of Israel. It argues that applying religious discourse to descriptions of seemingly ordinary sites such as landscapes serves to mystify and naturalise what are otherwise highly contested political realities, by reframing them as manifestations of God’s will. Second, the talk will consider the way these rhetorical techniques work to reframe the touring group’s identity as more authentically Christian in relation to other Christian groups who visit different sites of interest in the region.

Dr Sean Durbin is a Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

christian-zionism

Elon University Conference on Jewish-Christian Relations

The Elon University Conference on Jewish-Christian Relations was held at Sunday, November 17, 2013, at Numen Lumen Pavilion, Elon University. The presentations are available on YouTube.

1:00 pm: Welcoming Remarks
President Dr. Leo Lambert (Elon University)
Dr. Geoffrey Claussen (Elon University)

1:05-2:00 pm: Reading Genesis
– Dr. Marc Bregman (UNC-Greensboro) – “Jewish and Christian Perspectives on the Sacrifice of Isaac”
– Dr. Ellen Haskell (UNC-Greensboro) – “Contesting the Kingdom of Heaven: Rachel as Counterpart to Christ in Medieval Jewish Mysticism”
– Dr. Malachi Hacohen (Duke University) – “Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Ishmael: The Future of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations”
Convener: Dr. Geoffrey Claussen (Elon University)

2:15-3:00 pm: Defining Jewish Identity
– Dr. Lynn Huber (Elon University) – “‘Those Who Say That They Are Jews and Are Not’: The Function of Jewish Identity in the Book of Revelation”
– Dr. James Tabor (UNC-Charlotte) – “Who is a Jew?: A Modern Conundrum with Ancient Roots”
Convener: Dr. Michael Pregill (Elon University)

3:15-4:15 pm: Evangelical-Jewish Relations
 Dr. Shalom Goldman (Duke University), “The Use of Hebrew and Yiddish by British and American Christian Missionaries to Jews: 1870-1970”
– Dr. Yaakov Ariel (UNC-Chapel Hill) – “The Rise of Messianic Judaism”
– Dr. Motti Inbari (UNC-Pembroke) – “The Christian Zionist Response to Israeli Land for Peace Solutions”
Convener: Dr. Jason Husser (Elon University)

4:30-5:15 pm: Jewish and Christian Feminist Ritual Innovation
 Dr. Vanessa Ochs (University of Virginia)
– Dr. Diann Neu (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual)
Convener: Dr. Toddie Peters (Elon University)

5:30-6:30 pm: The Future of Jewish-Christian Dialogue
– 
Dr. Stanley Hauerwas (Duke University)
– Dr. Peter Ochs (University of Virginia)
Convener: Dr. Jeffrey Pugh (Elon University)

Closing Remarks: Dr. Jeffrey Pugh (Elon University)

Ilana Pardes on the Song of Solomon and Shmuel Agnon

Stroum

Professor Ilana Pardes, of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, delivered the 2010 Samuel & Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. The lectures discuss Shmuel Agnon’s novel Yesteryear and the methods of Zionist and modern secular exegesis of the Hebrew Bible. The audio of each lecture is available in mp3 format.

April 25
“‘Upon the Handles of the Lock’: Agnon, Balak and the Israeli Bible”

April 27
“Agnon’s Ethnographies of Love and the Quest for the Ultimate Song”

Biblical Studies Online Podcast 4: An Interview with Robert Myles and Michael Sandford

BSO

The latest Biblical Studies Online podcast is available on iTunes or, if iTunes isn’t your thing, available here.

RM&MS

James Crossley interviews Robert Myles, author of The Homeless Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014), and Michael Sandford, author of Poverty, Wealth, and Empire: Jesus and Postcolonial Criticism (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014). In addition to discussing their latest books, the interview covers issues of class, postcolonialism, and biblical scholarship.

Discussion of Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism

Butler-parting-ways

The American Academy of Religion (AAR) provides an audio file of the discussion panel at the 2013 AAR Annual Meeting which responded to Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (Colombia UP, 2012), on November 25, 2013.

Panelists:

Claire Katz, Texas A&M University
Samuel Brody, University of Cincinnati
Yaniv Feller, University of Toronto
Mark Lewis Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary
Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley
Martin Kavka, Lehigh University
Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley (Responding)
Rebecca Alpert, Temple University (Presiding)

(Audio File: 2 hours, 28 minutes)

h/t James McGrath, Exploring Our Matrix

The Bible in the Public Square Conference – Duke University

Bible in the Public Square

The Bible in the Public Square Conference took place at Duke University, September 9-10, 2012. Presenters considered the influence of the Bible in spheres such as U.S. politics and culture, the U.S. founding era, public schools, and Middle East policy.

Videos of the presentations are available both on the Duke University website and on YouTube (see below).

Session 1: The Bible in Presidential Politics

Jacques Berlinerblau (Georgetown University), “The Bible in the Presidential Elections of 2012, 2008, 2004 and the Collapse of American Secularism”

Session 2: The Bible and Popular Culture

Chair: Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University)
Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa), “Then as Now: Old Testament Epics and American Identity”
David W. Stowe (Michigan State University), “Babylon Revisited: Psalm 137 as America’s First Protest Song”

Session 2, continued

David Morgan (Duke University), “The Bible as Image in American Visual Culture”
Rubén R. Dupertuis (Trinity University), “Translating the Bible into Pictures: Comic-Book Bibles and the Politics of Interpretation”

Session 3: The Bible and America’s Founding Era

Chair: Carol Meyers (Duke University)
John Fea (Messiah College), “Does America Have a Biblical Heritage?”
Shalom Goldman (Duke University), “God’s American Israel: Hebrew, the Bible and the American Imagination”

Session 4: The Bible and Middle East Policy

Chair: Eric Meyers (Duke University)
Yaakov Ariel (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), “Biblical Imagery and Political Action: the Roots of Christian Support for Zionism and Israel”
Mordecai Inbari (University of North Carolina, Pembroke), “Zionism, Bible, and the Messianic Crisis of the West Bank Settlements”

Session 5: The Bible and Public Schools

Chair: Shalom Goldman (Duke University)
Charles Haynes (First Amendment Center), “Battling over the Bible in Public Schools: Is Common Ground Possible?”
Melissa Rogers (Wake Forest Center for Religion & Public Affairs), “‘Rightly Dividing the First Amendment? An Evaluation of Recent Decisions regarding the Bible and Public Schools”
Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University), “The Good Book as Textbook in Historical Perspective”

Beyond Belief: Radio 4 Episodes

The Radio 4 series, Beyond Belief can be downloaded as mp3s, and many of the episodes are relevant for biblical studies.

One biblical studies contribution is from Francesca Stavrakopoulou covering the history of ‘biblical archaeology’, historicity,  and the Dead Sea Scrolls and the historical Jesus. There is also further discussion about archaeology in relation to contemporary political issues, particularly those involving Christian Zionism, Israel and Palestine.

Rafi Greenberg: Archaeology and Identity in Modern Israel and Palestine

Brown University provides a lecture by Rafi Greenberg of Tel Aviv University, on Archaeology and Politics in Israel/Palestine.

Archaeologists play an important part in molding the collective memory of the communities with which they interact. As active participants in the creation of heritage, archaeologists in Israel and Palestine have a role as public intellectuals and a responsibility to past, present and future. This presentation explores the interface between archaeology and the emergence of diverse modern identities in Israel and Palestine: secular and religious, national and ethnic, indigenous and territorial.