Seminars

  • Founded
    1968
  • Seminar Number
    473

The seminar is composed of scholars of different faiths and traditions with a common interest in research and teaching of the Hebrew Bible. The focus of the seminar is research illuminating the cultural milieu, language, text, and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. This research is characterized by a variety of methodologies, including historical-critical, literary, philological, archaeological, and sociological approaches to the text, as well as history of interpretation. Research on ancient near eastern cultures and languages relating to ancient Israel is also regularly presented.


Co-Chairs
Professor David Carr
dcarr@utsnyc.edu

Professor Liane Feldman
lmfeldman@nyu.edu

Rapporteur
David DeLauro
ddelauro@scholarsgateway.com

Meeting Schedule

09/20/2022 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
7:00 PM
Prayer, Ritual, and Silence: The Psalms as Worship in Biblical Scholarship and the Study of Religion
Benjamin Sommer, Jewish Theological Seminary
Abstract

Abstract

Biblical critics have long debated the relationship between psalms and sacrifice. This article employs perspectives from the anthropological-phenomenological study of religion to compare the approach of three influential scholars who discussed the ways psalms related to temple ritual. Hermann Gunkel’s perspective matches a very common one in Western culture, associated with Friedrich Heiler, that denigrates ritual, privileging spontaneous prayer. Sigmund Mowinckel’s perspective matches that of Marcel Mauss in viewing prayer as a type of ritual. Yehezkel Kaufmann seems to resemble Gunkel because of Kaufmann’s claim that Priestly ritual established a “Sanctuary of Silence.” But Kaufmann’s claim has been widely misunderstood. Kaufmann, like Mowinckel, views prayer as one type of ritual and psalms as embedded in cult. He recalls Gerardus van der Leeuw and Maimonides in viewing silence as a form of prayer that emphasizes submission. The silent Priestly cult resembles standardized liturgies that provide worshipers with a means to ritually enact their own silence. This study of deeply influential biblical critics demonstrates how psalms and sacrifice constituted parallel, often coordinated, forms of worship. It clarifies the ways formulaic prayer (widely denigrated in modern Western culture and among some scholars of religion) can serve as a vehicle for a profound form of spirituality.





10/20/2022
7:00 PM
Reimagining Biblical Studies Beyond the Hebrew Bible/Second Temple Judaism Divide
Liane Feldman, New York University
Abstract

Abstract

Panel Discussion focusing on the relationship between the fields of biblical studies (specifically Hebrew Bible) and Second Temple Judaism. The discussion will look at how this relationship has shifted in the field over the years; how this has influenced research, teaching, and graduate advising; whether it is a useful distinction in scholarship and graduate studies; and other such similar topics.


Annette Yoshiko-Reed, Harvard University

Martha Himmelfarb, Princeton University

Hindy Najman, University of Oxford

11/01/2022 Zoom
7:00 PM
Prophetic Calls, Warrior Commissions, and Incantations: Synchronic Observations and Diachronic Speculations
Mark Smith, Princeton Theological Seminary
Abstract

Abstract

Prophetic calls are regularly noted in biblical scholarship, which also throws in the call story of Gideon. This presentation will suggest that warrior commissions, such as Gideon's (even if inflected by Moses' warrior call), represents a biblical genre no less than call stories. Moreover, warrior commissions are common in ancient Near Eastern literature; prophetic call stories are not. The similar features in the two biblical genres, as well as their distribution, are to be noted and explained. Moreover, this presentation will note features shared by biblical prophetic calls and Mesopotamain incantational literature. (see also the handout attached to this notice)





12/13/2022 TBD
7:00 PM
TBD
Liane Feldman, New York University




01/24/2023 TBD
7:00 PM
TBD
Alan Cooper, Jewish Theological Seminary




02/21/2023 TBD
7:00 PM
TBD
Molly Zahn, Yale Divinity School




03/21/2023 TBD
7:00 PM
TBD
Ki-Eun Jang, Fordham University




04/19/2023 TBD
2:00 PM
TBD
Kenneth Ngwa, Drew University Theological School




05/02/2023 TBD
7:00 PM
TBD
Rachel Frisch, Yale University