Jan 21

Lecture by Avigail Manekin-Bamberger: Scholastics, Scribes, and Sorcerers: ...

4:30PM

Public lecture by Avigail Manekin-Bamberger, Hebrew University of Jerusalem: "Scholastics, Scribes, and Sorcerers: Toward a New History of Rabbinic Judaism in the Sasanian Empire"

This lecture will take place on Tuesday January 21, 4:30pm, Swift Common Room

Avigail Manekin-Bamberger is a postdoctoral fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research focuses on the social and cultural history of Jews in antiquity, with a special emphasis on Jewish society in the Sasanian Empire. Her recent book manuscript examines intersections between law and magic in ancient Jewish texts. She has also published articles on various aspects of rabbinic literature, ancient Jewish magic and demonology and ancient Jewish culture within its broader context. She is currently working on a synthetic social history of the Jews in the Sasanian empire focusing on the daily life of Jewish individuals, the scope of rabbinic authority over popular Jewish groups, and the boundaries between Jewish and Christian communities.

Abstract: The Babylonian Talmud is the principal surviving literary source for the Jewish communities in the Sasanian empire. As a result, scholarship has primarily focused on the rabbinic elite represented in and responsible for the Talmud. However, hundreds of Jewish magical amulets written on bowls provide access to the unknown lives and practices of Jews in the very cities in which the Babylonian rabbis flourished; since their discovery the bowls have largely been relegated to the domain of a “popular” and “syncretistic” culture. I argue that this dichotomy between the world of the rabbis and that of the bowls is artificial and ultimately untenable and that they provide a rare vantage point from which to enrich our knowledge of both rabbinic law and practice, ancient Jewish society, and the place of the rabbis within it.

Date: January 21, 2020
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Jan 22

Wednesday Lunch with Scott Ferguson

12:00PM

Wednesday is a day of community gathering at the Divinity School. Join us!

Wednesday Lunch is a Divinity School tradition. Our student chefs and crew prepare a delicious vegetarian meal – from scratch – and serve it while guests listen to a talk, usually by a University faculty member or a community organization representative. All are welcome, and the cost is just $5. Sit at any table and enjoy conversation with students, staff, faculty, and community members.

WHEN: Noon to about 1:15pm.

WHERE: Swift Hall Common Room, 1st floor

HOW: Sign up in advance: divinitylunch@gmail.com. We have a very limited number of walk-in spots available.

HOW MUCH: $5!

Wednesday, January 22: "How to Teach with a Hammer." What can we learn about course design from the art of throwing a metal ball attached to a wire? More than you might think! Scott Ferguson, doctoral student in Philosophy of Religion and Marty Center Junior Fellow, will discuss how the unique training approach of Anatoliy Bondarchuk - gold medalist, former coach of the Soviet hammer throwing team, and arguably the most successful coach in the history of sports - can be translated for the classroom.

Date: January 22, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

See: https://divinity.uchicago.edu/our-community/wednesday-lunch

Jan 27

Lecture by Rachel Rafael Neis: When a Woman Gives Birth to a Raven: Rabbis and ...

4:30PM

Public lecture by Rachel Rafael Neis, University of Michigan: When a Woman Gives Birth to a Raven: Rabbis and the Reproduction of Species in Late Antiquity 

Monday, January 27th, at 4:30pm in Swift Hall Common Room (1st floor).

The biblical idea of the human as an image of God is often touted as a quintessentially Jewish, Christian, or “Judeo-Christian,” tradition. This talk traces an alternate approach to the human, one that travels through late ancient rabbinic reproductive and zoological science, and that was formed in a world of reproductive unpredictability. Ostensibly unrelated rabbinic sources – including tractates on women’s menstrual purity, animal donations to the temple, and the forbidden mixings of species – point to a rabbinic gynecology intertwined with zoology. These intertwined ideas, we will show, provide the basis for broader considerations about the coming into being of creaturely life, and the distinctions and overlaps between humans and other species.

Rachel Rafael Neis holds the Jean and Samuel Frankel Chair in Rabbinics and is an associate professor appointed in History and Judaic Studies. Serving as core faculty in the Interdepartmental Program in Greek and Roman History at the University of Michigan, Neis is also affiliated faculty with the STS Program, the Institute of Research on Women and Gender, and the Department of Comparative Literature. Neis has a PhD in Jewish Studies from Harvard University, a Masters in Religious Studies from Boston University, and a law degree from the London School of Economics. Neis's first book The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Ways of Seeing in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2013) won the Salon Baron Prize for best first book in Jewish Studies and an honorable mention for the Jordan Schnitzer Award. Neis's second book project is at the intersection of rabbinics, the history of ancient science, animal studies, and science studies.

Date: January 27, 2020
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Jan 28

Tahel Goldsmith - "Normalcy in the Face of Violence: SS Perpetrators' ...

5:00PM

Tahel Goldsmith (PhD Student, Modern European History, University of Chicago) will make a presentation for the Jewish Studies Workshop. A response will be given by Anna Band (PhD Candidate, Modern Jewish History, University of Chicago). For information, contact the workshop coordinators, Mendel Kranz (mkranz@uchicago.edu) and Samuel Catlin (scatlin@uchicago.edu).

Date: January 28, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Jan 29

Wednesday Lunch with Kelly Bulkeley

12:00PM

Wednesday is a day of community gathering at the Divinity School. Join us!

Wednesday Lunch is a Divinity School tradition. Our student chefs and crew prepare a delicious vegetarian meal – from scratch – and serve it while guests listen to a talk, usually by a University faculty member or a community organization representative. All are welcome, and the cost is just $5. Sit at any table and enjoy conversation with students, staff, faculty, and community members.

WHEN: Noon to about 1:15pm.

WHERE: Swift Hall Common Room, 1st floor

HOW: Sign up in advance: divinitylunch@gmail.com. We have a very limited number of walk-in spots available.

HOW MUCH: $5!

January 29: Kelly Bulkeley is a psychologist of religion specializing in dream research. He received his PhD from the Divinity School in Religion and Psychological Studies, and joins us in Winter Quarter of 2020 to teach @ The Divinity School.

Date: January 29, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

See: https://divinity.uchicago.edu/our-community/wednesday-lunch

Jan 29

Lecture by Laura Lieber: An Unholy Spectacle: The Ordeal of the Accused ...

4:30PM

Laura Lieber, Duke University, will lecture on “An Unholy Spectacle: The Ordeal of the Accused Adulteress in the Early Synagogue” on Wednesday, January 29th, 4:30pm, Common Room.

Using the trial of the accused adulteress (the sotah) from Numbers 5 as a case study, this paper argues for the inclusion of Jewish liturgical poetry as part of the classical rabbinic canon. The biblical account of the sotah, as mediated through the lens of classical rabbinic sources and synagogue literatures, displays how rabbinic writings and non-canonical Jewish sources provided fodder for liturgical and exegetical creativity. At the same time, the rabbinic and liturgical writings reveal how Jews were fully embedded in the complex and dynamic cultural milieu of Late Antiquity, and we will pay particular attention to how synagogue ritual was shaped by broader conventions of performance and emerging aesthetic conventions.

Laura Suzanne Lieber is Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University, where she directs the Duke Center for Jewish Studies as well as the Elizabeth A. Clark Center for Late Ancient Studies. She holds secondary appointments in Classics, German Language and Literature, and the Duke Divinity School. A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lieber received a BA in English Literature and Classics from the University of Arkansas, rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and a PhD in the History of Judaism from the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to Duke, she was Assistant Professor of Classics and Religion at Middlebury College. Her most recent books are A Vocabulary of Desire: The Song of Songs in the Early Synagogue (2014) and Jewish Aramaic Poetry from Antiquity (2018); her forthcoming volume, Classical Samaritan Poetry, will be published in 2020. She has held ACLS and National Humanities Center fellowships, and grants from the American Philosophical Society and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture have supported her research. Her current book project, Staging the Sacred: Performance in Late Ancient Liturgical Poetry, is under contract with Oxford University Press.

Date: January 29, 2020
Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM