Rethinking Nature in ancient Judaism: entanglement as a mode of vitality

Sara Ben-Isaac's picture

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December 13, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Ancient History, Jewish History / Studies, Languages, Religious Studies and Theology

Online UCL Institute of Jewish Studies lecture co-sponsored by the research network ‘Between Encyclopaedia and Epitome’  (U. Tübingen, UCL- London, FU Berlin)

While it has been said that there is no word for nature in Hebrew until the Tibbonite translation from the Arabic, this lecture will argue that we can already see signs of natural thinking in ancient Jewish texts. This is not an imposition of Greek thinking, but an integration and transformation of Greek thinking in a Jewish context.  By understanding the breadth and depth of the entanglement of cultures, we can open up pathways and see growth and development in a tradition that was said to be closed off from abstract thinking and fractured from its surrounding culture.  Professor Najman will argue that this was not the case.  Rather, that Judaism, Hebrew, and the growth of new textual traditions continue to exhibit vitality and creative innovation throughout the Hellenistic period and beyond.

Hindy Najman is the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture and the Director of the Oriel Centre for the Study of the Bible at the University of Oxford.

She has written on the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic Literature and Pseudepigrapha.  Her publications include Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism (2003),  Past Renewals: Interpretive Authority, Renewed Revelation and the Quest for Perfection (2010) and  Losing the Temple and Recovering the Future: An Analysis of 4 Ezra (2014).  She is currently completing a new book entitled: Reading Practices and the Vitality of Scripture.

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UCL INstitute of Jewish Studies

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