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The Peace and Violence of Judaism: From the Bible to Modern Zionism
November 19, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm$18
Religion is fraught with ambiguity when it comes to peace and violence. There are texts in every major religious tradition that foster violence toward outsiders alongside those that foster peace toward them. Sometimes, the ambiguity can be found in a single text. That is, the very same text can inspire peace or violence toward others depending on how it’s read and interpreted. This talk will explore the dynamic described here in the classical texts of Judaism and why it occurs. It will also examine the relevance of these texts and their ambiguities to the current conflict in the Middle East.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Robert Eisen is Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies and Chair of the Department of Religion at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The focus of his most recent research is approaches to peace and violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. His other areas of interest include comparative religion, Jewish philosophy, and Jewish biblical interpretation.
Eisen is author of four books that reflect his varied interests: Gersonides on Providence, Covenant, and the Chosen People (State University of New York Press, 1995); The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2004); The Peace and Violence of Judaism: From the Bible to Modern Zionism (Oxford University Press, 2011); and Religious Zionism, Jewish Law, and the Morality of War (Oxford University Press, 2017). He also co-edited Philosophers and the Jewish Bible (University of Maryland Press, 2008) with Charles Manekin. Eisen is currently working on a book entitled, Jews—A Success Story: How a Minority Survived Centuries of Persecution and Thrived in the Modern West.
Eisen has received a number of grants and awards to support his research, including a Fulbright research grant at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1999-2000. He was also given a teaching award in 2005 from George Washington University in recognition of his contributions in the classroom.
Eisen is active in adult education initiatives. He has lectured and taught widely in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in Washington and elsewhere.
Eisen is active as a consultant on issues of religion and international conflict with an interest in fostering better relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims throughout the world. For this purpose, he has participated in a number of high-level dialogues and consultations in Washington and abroad.