Category Archives: Religion

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

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New courses from Harvard

Until recently, Harvard University course offerings on iTunesU were limited to computer science courses from Harvard Extension. But now Harvard University has posted three courses on its own iTunesU page. They are: Introduction to Computer Science (iTunes) David Malan The … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Book of Job and the problem of evil

It’s a problem as old as monotheism: how can a just, beneficent God allow bad things to happen to good people? That’s the problem at the heart of the biblical Book of Job, the story of the righteous Job who … Continue reading

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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

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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

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Lincoln’s Greatest Speech

No, it’s not the Gettysburg address. According to Lincoln scholar Ronald C. White. Jr., Lincoln’s greatest speech was the Second Inaugural Address, his famous “with malice toward none, with charity for all” speech that promised healing and reconciliation to the … Continue reading

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