2022-23 Events

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates on departmental news and events!

Loading events…

“Arguing” with God: The Burning Bush & Jewish Rhetoric

Date:  March 29, 2023
Time: 4:00pm
Location:  Clemens 708, UB North Campus

Click here to join virtually!

Jewish people sometimes joke that “arguing with God” is a Jewish tradition, and the discussion between Moses and Exodus at the burning bush in Exodus 3 and 4 is frequently cited as an example par excellence. However, a close reading reveals that Moses’s argument with God does not map well onto traditional argumentative strategies borne out of classical Greco-Roman rhetorical theory. Instead, Eliza Gellis, a PhD candidate at Purdue University, shows how this encounter exemplifies a Jewish theory of rhetoric. This “covenant rhetoric” offers an alternative to Greco-Roman rhetorical models based on domination, demonstrating how language can facilitate a transformative encounter with the Other—human or divine.

Eliza Gellis is a fifth-year PhD candidate at Purdue University in the Department of English’s Rhetoric and Composition program. Her dissertation, Encounters with the Divine in the Hebrew Bible, explores the rhetoricity of divine Otherness in the Hebrew Bible. In addition to her work on Jewish and Biblical rhetorics, her research interests include public and cultural rhetorics, popular culture, and technical and professional writing.

Bad Examples: How (Not?) To Read The Hebrew Bible As Literature

Date: March 1, 2023
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Clemens Hall 904, UB North Campus

Click here to join virtuatlly! 

Samuel P. Catlin is Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago, where he received a dual doctorate in Comparative Literature and Religious Studies in 2022. He previously earned an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Literary Studies from Middlebury College in Vermont. A scholar of religion and literature with a focus on Jewish thought and culture, secularism, and the history of American higher education, his work has beenpublished or is forthcoming in academic and general-interest venues including Naharaim, Oxford Bibliographies in Jewish Studies, Parapraxis, Political Theology Network, and the new edition of Critical Terms for Religious Studies. University at Buffalo Department

Title: Kabbalah, Modernity, and Textual Authority in 19th Century Jewish Lithuania

Date: February 22, 2023
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Clemens Hall 904, UB North Campus

Click here to join virtually!

This talk explores how two nineteenth-century Lithuanian rabbis, R. Yitzhak Isaac Ḥaver and R. David Luria, defended the authority of Kabbalah, a mystical branch of Judaism. Kabbalah’s textual and philosophical foundations were newly under attack from academic scholarship and modernizing Jews. In their defense of Kabbalah, they engaged with fundamental questions about the nature of knowledge and sacred texts. This talk proposes a new understanding of traditional Jewish intellectual life, one that appreciates its openness to intellectual innovation.

Brian Hillman (he/him) is a visiting professor in Jewish Studies in the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University, Bloomington. His research focuses on modern Jewish thought and Kabbalah. He earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Indiana University in 2021. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jewish Studies QuarterlyReligious Studies Review, and the Jewish Book Council. Dr. Hillman currently serves as the managing editor for the Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy.

Lithuanian Jewish Thought and Law, Past and Present.

The series will comprise a lecture and a seminar

Seminar Title: "Agents, Intentions, Emotions, and Actions: Commandments in the Lithuanian Talmud"
Date: Novbember 7th, 2022
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Location: Clemens 708, UB North Campus
Click here to join virtually!

Lecture Title: “The Birth of Lithuanian Talmudism from the Self-Destruction of Kabbalah”
Date: November 8th, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:50pm
Location: Capen 107, UB North Campus
Click here to join virtually! 

Dr. Yonatan Y. Brafman is an Assistant Professor of Modern Judaism at the Tufts University. 

Recordings were made for both of Yonatan Brafman's events!