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Jewish Studies seminar and events 2013-14

Semester 2 2013/4

 

January 14 2014
Prof. Martin Goodman (Oxford)
The Roman State and Diaspora Jews after Bar Kokhba'
Venue: Virginia Woolf Building 6.01
16:30 Refreshments
17:00 Lecture
The paper will enquire why, after the Romans in 135 CE had changed the name of the Jewish homeland from 'Judaea' to 'Syria Palaestina' and had forbidden Jews to live in the city which they knew was the focus of Jewish religious devotion and ethnic identity, they nonetheless permitted Jews in diaspora cities to retain their status as members of distinct recognised communities with protected privileges.

On January 22 (Wednesday), the Biblical Studies seminar has invited Prof. Sarah Pearce (Southampton) to speak on Philo and Intermarriage. 
The seminar will take place in VWB 3.01 and start at 17:00.

February 04
Dr Nadia Valman (Queen Mary)
Postwar British-Jewish Literature
Venue: Virginia Woolf Building 6.01
16:30 Refreshments
17:00 Lecture
This paper explores British Jewish writing of the 1950s and 60s in the context of social and demographic change in postwar Britain and among British Jews. In particular, developing recent scholarship on the writing of urban space, I look at the geography of the British Jewish novel, focusing on the locations of the East End, Hackney and the northwestern suburbs of London, and their aesthetic, political and symbolic dimensions.

Nadia Valman is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author of The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture (Cambridge UP, 2007) and the co-editor of six books on Jews and British literary culture in the Victorian and modern periods. Most recently, she co-edited Nineteenth-Century Jewish Literature: A Reader (Stanford University Press, 2013) and the Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures (in press) and edited Jewish Women Writers in Britain (Wayne State University Press, 2014). Her current research is on the literature of London.   

March 03 The Maccabaean Lecture
Prof. Todd Endelman (University of Michigan) 
The Last Anglo-Jewish Gentleman – Redcliffe Nathan Salaman (1874-1955)
Council Room (K2.29, Strand Campus)
17:30 Refreshments
18:00-19:30 Lecture
The communal hegemony of the Anglo-Jewish notability collapsed in the mid-twentieth century.  One of its last representative figures was Redcliffe Nathan Salaman - plant geneticist, country gentleman, social historian of the potato, and Zionist.  Salaman witnessed and acutely observed its demise, as well as the larger transformation of British Jewry in the twentieth century.

Todd M. Endelman is Professor Emeritus of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. A specialist in the history of Anglo-Jewry and modern Jewish social history, he is the author of The Jews of Georgian England, Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History, and The Jews of Britain, 1656-2000.  He recently completed a history of conversion and radical assimilation in modern Jewish history, which Princeton University Press will be publishing in 2014.  He is currently working on a biography of Redcliffe Nathan Salaman.

March 18
Dr Maria Diemling (Canterbury Christ Church)
'Christian Ethnographies' of Jews: Exploring the ‘Hidden Transcript' of Jews in Early Modern German Lands
Venue: Virginia Woolf Building 6.01
16:30 Refreshments
17:00 Lecture
In recent years, 'Christian ethnographies' of Jews and Judaism have gained increasing scholarly attention. These texts belong to a specific early modern and mainly German polemical genre that uses ethnographic tools to present Jews and Judaism to a Christian audience. In my lecture, I will focus on the beginnings of this genre in the early sixteenth century and argue that they provide unique insights into the strategies of a persecuted and marginalised minority to counter the dominant Christian narrative with a powerful message of resistance and subversion.


March 26
Débora Marques de Matos
SephardiPal: Between the Letters and Shapes of Sephardic Manuscripts
Venue: S3.30 (Strand Building, Strand Campus)
16:00-17:00 Lecture

The dialogue between the Humanities and Digital studies has led to research that uses new technologies and yet does not obliterate the role of the historian or palaeographer. ‘SephardiPal' is currently being developed in the Department of Digital Humanities as a framework for studying Hebrew manuscripts, particularly those from the Iberian Peninsula. However, 'SephardiPal' is used not only for the analysis of hand samples but also for the study of decorations. Referring to manuscripts from the 'Portuguese school' and the ‘Andalusian school’, Débora Matos, a PhD student in Jewish Studies and the Digital Humanities, will explain how ‘SephardiPal’ has been essential for her research on the mobility of Jewish scribes in the Iberian Peninsula and how the characterisation of local, scribal and artistic features can contribute to establish the origin of manuscripts.

May 06
Prof. Nicholas de Lange (Cambridge)
Jewish Transmission of Greek Bible Translations
Venue: Virginia Woolf Building 6.01
16:30 Refreshments
17:00 Lecture
Most studies of Greek Bible translations, while recognising their Jewish origins, focus on their Christian transmission. The study of their Jewish transmission through the Middle Ages sheds interesting light on the ancient translations, on medieval Judaism, and on Jewish-Christian relations.

All welcome!

lf you have questions, please e-mail Mr Steffan Mathias 

Dr Andrea Schatz and Dr Jonathan Stökl (co-conveners)


Semester 1 2013/4

29 October

Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert (UCL)
The Relationship between Messianism and Gender in Twentieth-century Habad-Lubavitch Hasidism
16.30 Refreshments, VWB 4.02
17.00 Lecture, VWB 6.01
Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway

The paper first examines the relationship between the messianic orientation and gender sensibilities of the Habad school from its inception in the late 1700s to the present. It then argues that despite the fact that apocalyptic messianism on the one hand, and the mobilisation of women as an active constituency on the other, first occurred in Habad more or less simultaneously in the early twentieth century, the two trends did not converge ideologically until the second half of the century, under the leadership of the last Rebbe, Mennachem Mendel Schneerson.

12 November

Emily Filler (University of Virginia)
On (Not) Confronting the Biblical Text: Buber, Rosenzweig, and the Resources of Classical Rabbinic Literature
16.30 Refreshments
17.00-18.30 Lecture
VWB 4.02 (Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway)

Despite Buber and Rosenzweig's impassioned calls for modern Jews to "confront" the Bible anew, their own work demonstrates remarkably little biblical confrontation - particularly with the Bible’s many violent or ethically troubling passages. Here, it will be suggested that this striking lack stems from their pre-existing theological assumptions about the Bible’s role in Jewish spiritual renewal. In response, it will be argued that classical rabbinic literature may provide alternative hermeneutical approaches for addressing the challenges the two philosophers were unable to overcome.

26 November

Dr Avi Lifschitz (UCL)
Genesis for Historians: Thomas Abbt (and 18th-Century Friends) on the Bible as a Guide for Human Evolution
16.30 Refreshments
17.00-18.30 Lecture
VWB 4.02 (Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway)

The paper examines how Thomas Abbt, a key figure in the German Enlightenment, responded to the challenges of contemporary reconstructions of human evolution from a hypothetical state of nature to modern commercial society. The first part concerns his peculiar argument for the viability of the biblical narrative (argued mainly against Rousseau); the second covers his treatment of Babel and the Deluge as major turning points for human memory and cognition; while the final section links these issues to Abbt’s controversy with Moses Mendelssohn over human destination or vocation.

10 December  

Dr Tamra Wright (London School of Jewish Studies)
TBC
16.30 Refreshments
17.00-18.30 Lecture

VWB 4.02 (Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway)

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