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CANCELLED! Till Death Do Us Part: Family Life and the Afterlife in Jewish Thought

February 17, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm




ABOUT THIS LECTURE: “The family that prays together,” the famous adage goes, “stays together.” Indeed, many people of faith take for granted that religious observance strengthens spousal, parental, and inter-generational relationships. But to pre-modern Jewish theologians, it was far from obvious that the family was a religiously meaningful institution. Biblical interpreters, mystics, and moralists questioned whether bonds between husbands and wives, or even parents and children, were strictly human constructs, conventional means of structuring the social order–or whether they reflected underlying, preexisting, enduring spiritual realities. This lecture will explore the ways in which medieval Jews used eschatological theology (speculation about the afterlife and the apocalypse) as a means of ;thinking through the theological underpinnings of familial relationships. As we shall see, these medieval theological debates have had lasting, and surprising, implications for the development of Jewish liturgy and rituals.


ABOUT THIS SPEAKER:  Professor David Shyovitz is Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University, and Director of NU’s Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. His research and teaching focus on pre-modern Jewish history, with particular emphases on Jewish-Christian relations, the history of science, and the development of Jewish law. David received his BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Pennsylvania and studied for several years at Yeshivat Har Etzion. He has been a visiting fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is the author of A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz, and of the forthcoming “O Beastly Jew!” Jews, Animals, and Jewish Animals in the Middle Ages.


February 17, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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