The 2015 Bampton Lectures in America will be given by Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin, speaking on: A Genealogy for Judaism.
In this series of lectures, Daniel Boyarin proposes that scholarship ought to resist using the term “Judaism” with reference to the pre-modern period. As has been argued by several scholars already, there is no “native” term with this meaning in antiquity or the Middle Ages. There is, moreover, no evidence that Jews divided off one category of their experience and practice and named it their religion. It is, therefore, a falsification of the evidence to pick out an entity and name it “Judaism.” A theoretical argument against using modern categories to analyze ancient realities will be advanced as well.
Professor Boyarin will be presenting four lectures over a two-week period:
Monday, March 23
Was There Judaism in Pre-modernity?: The Terms of the Debate
Wednesday, March 25
Can a Word Exist if No one Says it or Writes it?
Monday, March 30
What do Jews Talk About When They Don’t Talk About Judaism?
Wednesday, April 1
Can a Concept Exist Without a Word?
There will be a public reception following the final lecture in the series on Wednesday, April 1, to celebrate the completion of the series.
All lectures will take place at 7:00pm in Held Lecture Hall, room 304 on the third floor of Barnard Hall. A map of Barnard’s campus is available here.
These lectures are free of charge and open to all. If you are interested in bringing a class or other large group, please email Jessica Lilien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration is appreciated. Please register for each lecture you will attend through this form.
Daniel Boyarin is the Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture in the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley. At UC Berkeley he is also an affiliated member in the Department of Women’s Studies and a member of core faculty in the minor in Gay and Lesbian Studies, the graduate group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology, and the designated emphasis in Women, Sexuality, Gender Studies, as well as the core faculty of the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. He is the author of books including The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ, A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity, Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man, and Socrates and the Fat Rabbis.
Founded in 1948, the Bampton Lectures in America are a series of biennial lectures given by prominent scholars in the fields of theology, science, art, and medicine. Established through a bequest from Ada Byron Bampton Tremaine, the Lectures are given at periodic intervals in the fields of religion, science, art, and medicine. In accordance with the wishes of Ms Tremaine, they are delivered to a general audience and subsequently published. Included among those who have delivered the Bampton lectures are: Arnold Toynbee, Paul Tillich, Fred Hoyle, Alasdair C. MacIntyre, Jonathan Riley-Smith, and Irving Weissman.
The 2015 Bampton Lectures in America are sponsored by the Department of Religion at Columbia; the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; the Department of Religion at Barnard; the Department of History at Barnard; the Program in Jewish Studies at Barnard; the Office of the University Chaplain; the Institute for comparative Literature and Society; the Department of History at Columbia; and the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies.