Category Archives: Jewish studies

Interpreting the Bible

The Bible is one of the foundational texts of the Western tradition and Harvard historian Shaye Cohen’s course The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity (iTunes) gives a lively introduction to the different ways believing Christians and Jews have interpreted … Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Courses, Five-star professors, History, iTunesU, Jewish studies, Religion | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Kabbalah-the real deal

A New Age, pop-culture version of the venerable Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah has been fashionable of late, attracting the likes of Madonna and other celebrities. But if you’re curious to find out what authentic Kabbalah is all about, … Continue reading

Posted in Academic podcasts, Five-star professors, Jewish studies, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Limmud: Jewish studies for the UK and the world

Limmud started out as a yearly Jewish studies conference for educators in Britain. Now, 30 years after its founding, Limmud, which means learning in Hebrew, is a worldwide movement with local organizations that organize Jewish study weekends and conferences in … Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Jewish studies, Lectures, Religion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Jewish Spirit of Secularism

In 1918 Max Weber famously wrote that the modern world “is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.” In other words, the rise of science and rationality has taken the magic and mystery … Continue reading

Posted in Academic podcasts, Courses, Five-star professors, History, Jewish studies, Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Four history courses from George Mosse

The renowned cultural historian George Mosse (1918-1999) taught for more than 30 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over the years a number of his courses were taped, and recently the university posted four of them on this website.  Each … Continue reading

Posted in Academic podcasts, Five-star professors, History, Jewish studies | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Does God have a physical body?

Brace yourself for this one: the God of the Hebrew Bible has a real physical body. That’s what biblical scholar Benjamin Sommer argues in his lecture The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel: Part I (website, iTunes) … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Bible, Five-star professors, History, Idea of the week, iTunesU, Jewish studies, Lectures, Religion | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The Challenge of Translating the Bible

Most modern translations of the Hebrew Bible have two deficiencies says UC Berkeley literary scholar Robert Alter: “a deficient sense of English style and a deficient sense of Hebrew style.” In his 2009 lecture The Challenge of Translating the Bible … Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Five-star professors, Jewish studies, Lectures, Literature, Religion | 1 Comment

A History of Jerusalem

How did a provincial hill-town, with no significant natural resources and far from major trade routes, become a holy city for millions of people? That’s the question archaeologist and biblical scholar Robert Cargill seeks to answer in his fascinating new … Continue reading

Posted in Academic podcasts, Archaeology, Bible, Courses, Five-star professors, History, Jewish studies, Religion | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Memory vs history

Encounters with the Past: Remembering the `Bygone’ in Israeli Culture (website) is a 3-part lecture series which explores cultural memory, a concept that is distinct from history. While history is the study of past events, cultural memory looks at the … Continue reading

Posted in Jewish studies | Tagged | Leave a comment

The accidental chosen people

In the ancient Near East there wasn’t much of a difference between a tribal community and a religious community. Every ethnic community had its own ethnic god. Thus, argues Reuven Firestone in his lecture Who Are the Real Chosen People? … Continue reading

Posted in Academic podcasts, Five-star professors, Idea of the week, Jewish studies, Religion | Tagged , | Leave a comment