Professor Azzan Yadin-Israel's David Blitzer Event!

On March 4 and 5 2024, as a part of David Blitzer Lectures Series, Professor Azzan Yadin-Israel of the Rutgers University Departments of Jewish Studies and Classics delivered a seminar on the “The Status of the Forgotten: Plato, Freud, Talmud, and Beyond” and a lecture on the topic of “The Forbidden Fruit: The Mystery Solved.” 

The seminar worked out a triangulation of 

  1. Plato’s theory of knowing as using dialogues to recal the ideas the soul saw before birth, 
  2. Freud’s theory of “I” of consciousness as regaining the knowing that have been previously occupied by the “it” of the unconscious, and 
  3. Rabbinic theory of the fetus to have been taught all the torah, having forgotten it after the birth in order to learn it again through the Talmud study. 

If the first two positions situated the fogotten in the realm beyond the direct reach of a living being, -- in the world of ideas, for Plato, or in the world of unconsious, for Freud, then the third position affords the same bodily living being, the fetus and then the human to learn, to forget, and to learn the forgotten again – in a process (learning) that express no radical interruption. In the third position, the same body (of the fetus and then of the human) and the same process (that of learing) undergirds the forgotten and the remembered. In this, the third position differentiates from the first two, where the forgotten is radically different from what is remembered, Professor Yadin-Israel argued. 

The lecture exposed the students and the community members to the main argument of Professor Yadin-Israel award-winning 2023 book Temptation TransformedHow the Forbiddden Fruit Became an Apple The lecture exposed a modern “semantic change” in thhe word for fruit, pomme from “fruit in general” to a kind of fruit, apple. The argument have also shown the anachronistic nature of the genealogy of the “apple” from a homonimy of the word malum as meaning both “evil” and “apple” in Latin and derivative languages.