Jewish Studies research seminar
Semester 2 (Spring) 2013
Professor Paul Morris(Victoria University of Wellington)
Is Revelation a Problem in Modern Jewish Theology?
S-1.22 (Strand Campus, Strand Building)
Profound challenges to traditional ideas of revealed knowledge are part of the legacy of the Enlightenment. What has been the nature of these challenges and how have these impacted on Jewish thinkers? This seminar begins with a formulation of the problem by Leo Strauss and explores a number of significant Jewish responses. It further addresses why the discourse on revelation has been so muted in many modern Jewish communities.
Paul Morris is Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, where he holds the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious Understanding and Relations in New Zealand and the Pacific. He has published in the areas of religious diversity, religion and politics, religion in the Pacific, religion in New Zealand, human rights and religion, and Jewish Studies. His current research is a monograph entitled "Radical Jewish Theologies".
Professor Oliver Leaman(University of Kentucky)
Maimonides vs. Nahmanides on Fighting for the Land of Israel: Some Reflections on Jewish Theology
S-1.22 (Strand Campus, Strand Building)
Maimonides was rather unenthusiastic about the legal basis for Jews fighting for the Land of Israel and even returning to the Land, by contrast with Nahmanides who not only tried to refute Maimonides but actually went to live in Israel. This debate is both interesting in itself but even more so for what it shows about the methodology of Jewish theology, and that will be the main focus of the discussion.
Oliver Leaman teaches Jewish Studies at the University of Kentucky and is the author of Judaism (I B Tauris) and Jewish Thought (Routledge). He writes on Islamic and Jewish thought.
The Maccabaean Lecture 2013
Professor Derek Penslar (University of Toronto/University of Oxford)
Dreyfus Was Not Alone: The Army as a Jewish Career in Modern Europe
17.30 Tea and refreshments
Council Room (Strand Campus)
To RSVP, please contact email@example.com
The military was an important source and sign of Jewish social mobility in modern Europe. This talk will explore the social background and family lives of Jewish army officers and show how the presence or absence of Jewish officers illustrates the position of Jews in a country's society. The focus will be on fin de siecle France, where the tragic figure of Alfred Dreyfus appears in a different light when placed against the background of hundreds of French-Jewish career officers, including dozens at the most senior ranks.
Professor Penslar is a comparative historian with interests in the relationship between modern Israel and diaspora Jewish societies, global nationalist movements, European colonialism, and post-colonial states.
MOVED to October:
Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert (UCL)
The Relationship between Messianism and Gender in Twentieth-century Habad-Lubavitch Hasidism
River Room (Strand Campus)
A Jewish Studies Workshop
Integration or Erasure? Christian Hebraists as Scholars and Censors
Dr Piet van Boxel (University of Oxford)
The Role of the Censor in Sixteenth-Century Italy
Recently it has been suggested that censorship and expurgation of Hebrew books in the early modern period functioned as an editorial device, a view that challenges the conventionally negative assessment of ecclesiastical censorship. Is this revisionary approach justified by the evidence? We will examine whether censorship actually contributed to the dissemination of new knowledge and whether the censor also assumed the role as editor.
Dr Joanna Weinberg (University of Oxford)
Johannes Buxtorf the Elder Examines Hebrew Literature
Johannes Buxtorf the elder (1564-1629) was one of the greatest Hebraists of the early modern period. Virulent anti-Jewish sentiments permeate much of his scholarly activities, and yet he profesed a passionate love for Jewish literature. This seeming paradox will be examined in the context of his work as censor and editor of Hebrew books.
Piet van Boxel, Theo Dunkelgrün (Cambridge), Paul Joyce (Theology & Religous Studies, King's), Joanna Weinberg, Julian Weiss (Spanish & Portuguese Studies, King's)
Refreshments will be served after the workshop.
Semester 1 (Autumn) 2012
Biblical Studies & Jewish Studies Seminar
Professor Paul Joyce (King’s College London)
The Book of Lamentations in Jewish and Christian Reception
17.00 2E, Chesham Building (Strand Campus)
Dr Michael Harris (London School of Jewish Studies)
Nietzsche, Soloveitchikian Modern Orthodoxy and Normative Ethics
S3.41 (Strand Campus, Strand Building, 3rd floor)
Despite many deep and striking differences between Jewish tradition and the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche, significant Nietzschean resonances on some important issues are evident in the modern Orthodox thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. One central area – central to both modern Orthodoxy and Nietzsche’s philosophy – which might initially appear totally resistant to any rapprochement, however, is that of normative ethics. This paper focuses on Nietzsche’s well-known critiques of two key normative ethical concepts, guilt and compassion, and attempts to show that not only do Nietzschean and Soloveitchikian modern Orthodox views in these areas largely avoid conflict, but that even on these fundamental moral issues, interesting correspondences exist.
24 October: POSTPONED - NEW DATE TBC
Digital Humanities Postgraduate Seminar & Jewish Studies Seminar
Ms Débora Matos (King’s College London)
Hebrew Book Production in Portugal: Cultural History and the Digital Humanities
Dr Alinda Damsma (King’s & UCL)
Early Jewish Mysticism: New Insights from the Cairo Genizah
17.30 SWB 18 (Strand Campus, King's Building)
The literary treasure discovered in the Cairo Genizah yielded an Aramaic fragment of which the background was hitherto shrouded in mystery. In her paper, Dr Alinda Damsma will present this fragment, which, as it turns out, sheds light on a relatively dark chapter in the history of early Jewish mysticism.
Dr Alinda Damsma is a teaching fellow in UCL’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She also teaches Biblical Hebrew at King’s College London and Leo Baeck College. She has written articles on Aramaic, the Targums, and Jewish mysticism. Her book The Targumic Toseftot to Ezekielwas published by Brill in 2012.
Dr Holger Zellentin (University of Nottingham)
Rabbinic and Christian Narratives of the Destruction of the Temple
16.30 SWB 18 (Strand Campus, King's Building)
The Rabbinic narratives about the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple evoke one of the most pivotal moments of Jewish history. They also contain a reckoning with those who seek to capitalize on the Jewish tragedy: the early Christian tradition sees the destruction as proof of God's rejection of Judaism. Combining tragedy and comedy, the rabbis' witty polemics rewrite history once more.
Dr Holger Zellentin (PhD Princeton 2007) is lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University of Nottingham. He previously taught at the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California in Berkeley, CA. His book Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature was published with Mohr-Siebeck in 2011.
Jewish Studies, History & Menzies Centre for Australian Studies
Dr Adam Rovner (University of Denver)
New Jerusalem, Down Under: The Search for a Jewish Homeland in Australia (1933-1942)
17.00 Room tbc (Strand Campus, Strand Building)
This paper details the cultural context and legacy of proposals to create mass settlements of Jewish refugees in Australia before, during, and after the Nazi era. Archives located on four continents reveal how poets, playwrights, journalists, civil servants, humanitarians, and social revolutionaries all worked to imagine the Jewish colonization of portions of Australia. This little known chapter of intellectual history stems from a long tradition of Jewish Territorialism, a political ideology that merged literature with nationalist projects. For much of the twentieth century, the question was not whether there should be a Jewish political entity, but where to put it. The story of the efforts to settle Jews in the Kimberley region and in southwestern Tasmania is the story of plans to find a territorial solution to centuries of Jewish homelessness.
Refreshments will be offered after the seminars.
All welcome -
lf you have questions, please e-mail Mr Steffan Mathias: firstname.lastname@example.org
Convenor: Dr Andrea Schatz