Reading, Re-reading, Mis-reading?: A Journey through Biblical Commentary
Dr. Alan Cooper, Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies, JTS
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Because the Torah text can be quite enigmatic, we are often faced with questions of interpretation and meaning. Spanning centuries and continents, a rich tradition of commentary emerged to guide readers. This course will introduce you to the fascinating world of traditional Jewish biblical interpretation from rabbinic midrash to the thirteenth century. We will consider the emergence of literalism in the Muslim East (Saadiah), Spain (Ibn Ezra), and France (Rashi, Rashbam); philosophical and mystical interpreters (Rambam, Ramban); and the rise of more eclectic commentary traditions (Bahya b. Asher and beyond). The course will center around Rashi’s commentary on the Torah—the cornerstone of the traditional Jewish curriculum of biblical study—along with its sources and reception.
Judaism’s Hidden Books: The Apocrypha
Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS
This course will introduce you to the rich and diverse writings produced by Jews in the late Second Temple period (530 BCE to 70 CE) that were not preserved in the Hebrew Bible, yet were included in the Latin and Greek Old Testaments. What can this set of texts —which includes historical, apocalyptic, and wisdom literature—teach us about the development of Judaism? In addition to conveying some familiarity with these writings and an appreciation of their historical-cultural context, a central goal of the course will be to consider the diversity of Jewish belief and practice that characterized the period. We will also explore the parallels and divergences of late Second Temple Judaisms with both rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity.
$185 for one course
$360 for both courses
$335 for Women’s League members before October 17
Advance registration is required. Register here.