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Public lecture »Judaism: A Canon Without Closure«

Prof. Dr. Ismar Schorsch (New York) visits the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz to give a public lecture on Judaism. He presents a structural analysis of Judaism and how it functioned through the ages.

It is well known that Judaism eventually came to rest in a sacred book rather than a sacred space, a centrality expressed by its public reading in the synagogue service. The completion of that Torah reading in an annual cycle made it the unifying narrative for each community and the entire nation. Less widely appreciated, though, is the paradox that in Judaism the canon remained fluid even as it became fixed. The word of God, unlike the language of humans, was deemed to bear an infinity of meanings, with the result that canon spawned commentary. Of all literary genres, commentary is the least appealing to the modern temperament with its penchant for speed, novelty and self-expression. Yet it is the key to Judaism's singular achievement: a canon without closure. Revelation proved to be expansive rather than restrictive. The right, indeed the obligation, of every Jew to plumb the Bible for meaning kept the text ever open, pliant and relevant in a conversation that spanned the ages. Prof. Dr. Ismar Schorsch is Chancellor Emeritus und Rabbi Herman Abramovitz Professor of Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (New York) and an outstanding scholar in the area of Jewish Studies. His research focuses on the history of Jewish Scholarship, science of Judaism and conservative Judaism. His book »Canon Without Closure« (2007) is a collection of Torah commentaries. The lecture is open to everyone and participation is free of charge.

Judaism: A Canon Without Closure Datum: Monday, January 21st, 2013, 18.30 p.m. Ort: IEG, Konferenzraum (1. OG), Alte Universitätsstraße 19, Mainz Kontakt: Stephanie Wiehl Tel. 0049 / 6131-3939350 - Fax 0049 / 6131-3939326 E-Mail: ieg4@ieg-mainz.de

Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG) Referat Veranstaltungen/Öffentlichkeitsarbeit Stefanie Wiehl Alte Universitätsstraße 19 55116 Mainz Tel. + 49 (0) 6131-39 393 50 Fax + 49 (0) 6131-39 353 26 Email: ieg4@ieg-mainz.de

idw :: 09.01.2013