Winter 2013: Sacred Dialogue

Interpreting and Embodying Sacred Texts Across Traditions

In the winter quarter, the 2012-2013 Bannan Institute will engage in an extended process of storytelling.  Lectures and events will explore the public significance of sacred texts from diverse contexts and traditions, including the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Scriptures, the Qur'an, the Bhagavata Purana, various Buddhist sutras, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This winter series will also highlight the multiple ways in which sacred texts make meaning in the public sphere, through narrative, critical analysis, illuminations, communal and personal interpretation, electronic media, proclamation, art, and interreligious engagement.

Creating a Culture of Care

Hebrew Scripture and Jewish Tradition on Charity and Hospitality

by Michael Fishbane |

January 22, 2013 | 4:00 - 5:30 pm
St. Clare Room, Library and Learning Commons | MAP

Judaism interprets Scripture at several distinct levels. Each tries to cultivate the religious and moral life of the individual within community—but in different ways and with different emphases. Life situations, spiritual attunement, and the authority of tradition all play a key role. The presentation will illustrate this interplay with examples from the Book of Genesis, Psalms, and the Song of Songs.

Michael Fishbane is the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago, and served for many years as Chair of its Committee on Jewish Studies. He is the author or editor of over 20 books and hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and encyclopedias. His areas of research include Biblical Studies, medieval Jewish Bible commentaries and thought, Jewish spirituality, and modern Jewish religious thought. Among his many works are Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel; Garments of Torah; Essays in Biblical Hermeneutics; The Kiss of God: Spiritual Death and Dying in Judaism; and The Exegetical Imagination: Jewish Thought and Theology. His more recent books include Haftarot (a commentary on the prophetic lectionaries for Sabbaths and Festivals); Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking; and Sacred Attunement. A Jewish Theology (2008). He is presently completing a multi-level commentary on the Song of Songs, utilizing the entire range of commentaries from antiquity to the present. Recipient of many scholarly awards, Fishbane has twice won the National Jewish Book Award; and he has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and three times a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University.  He is also a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research. An article on Fishbane’s work and intellectual contributions appears in the Encyclopedia Judaica (2nd ed.).  In 2005 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Jewish Scholarship from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.  Fishbane has been a visiting professor at many universities in the United States and abroad, including Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton in the U.S., and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

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