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Winter Shapiro Lecture

March 01, 2021 @ 7:00 PM CST - March 01, 2021 @ 8:00 PM CST


Dr. Rebecca Scharbach Wollenbeg

Dr. Wollenberg is an assistant professor at the Frankel Center for Judaic studies at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. Her work on the interrelationship between Jewish and Christian texts in late antiquity has won two early career awards from the Society of Biblical literature, the DeGruyter Prize and the David Noel Freedman Award.


The Problem with the Bible: What Early Christian Reading Habits Taught the Rabbis about the Hebrew Bible

This lecture explores rabbinic tales about Christian scriptural reading habits, in which human actors play a secondary role and the star part is given to the biblical text itself, which is anthropomorphized and given a theological agenda. Instances of rival biblical exegesis are read as signs that the biblical text has become promiscuous, demonstrating a tendency to bestow divine knowledge and sacred promises on individuals for whom they were not intended. Less successful interpretations are taken to prove that the written biblical tradition is treacherously inaccurate, representing itself as a self-evident conveyor of truth, but obscuring its true meaning from the unwary reader. In the rabbinic imagination, tales of a rival biblical reading community thus functioned as meditations on the problems inherent to the process of conveying sacred knowledge through written text.

This event will take place live on ZOOM. Please click here to register and receive the login information.

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