December 15, 2017
Join us for the Hopkins-Hamburg Workshop on Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Thought at the Smokler Center for Jewish Life. Participants include: Dr. Yitzhak Melamed, Dr. Giuseppe Veltri, Dr. Patrick Koch, Dr. Racheli Haliva, Dr. Chaim Moseson, Dr. Paewl Maciejko, and Dr. David Katz.
April 9-11, 2018
The 13th Lavy Colloquium presents, “Herem: The Sources, Practice, and Representation of Ex-Communications and Bans in Rabbinic Culture.” The social institution of herem was probably the most severe disciplinary measure Jewish communities throughout the centuries could impose on their members. As such, herem seems to be a highly important topic in the study of Jewish social, political, and religious history. Nevertheless, as of today, this institution seems more mystifying (as is witnessed by the various legends surrounding Spinoza’s “excommunication”) than a proper object of study. In our conference (whose proceedings we intend to publish), we would like to provide a panoramic overview of the theory and practices of herem from Mishnaic times through late modernity. To that end, we have assembled a team of leading scholars specializing in various sub-fields and periods within Jewish Studies, hoping to provide a thorough account of this important yet insufficiently examined topic. The conference will take place at Johns Hopkins University.
April 30-May 4, 2018
Master Class on the Philosophy of Hasdai Crescas
In this class we shall read together texts from The Light of the Lord (Hebrew: Or Adonai), the anti-Aristotelian book by the famed Catalan Jewish philosopher, Rabbi Hasdai Crescas (c. 1340-1410/11). The Light was completed in Saragossa in 1410 and first printed in Ferrara in 1555.
Topics discussed will include space, time, the vacuum, infinity, many worlds, determinism and choice, and the knowledge and love of God. Attention will be given to Crescas’ relation to earlier medieval philosophers, such as Maimonides, Averroes, and Gersonides, and to later medieval and modern philosophers, including Spinoza. Crescas’ theories will also be analyzed with regard to other representatives of the revolutionary “new physics” in 14th-century Europe, particularly Nicole Oresme.