“The Bible Across Cultures: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment,” a series of four lectures sponsored by Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at UMass Amherst, explores the Bible as a meeting ground for intercultural exchange. Employing comparative historical and literary methods of analysis, and by highlighting interpretive strategies in the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds, the series draws attention to the role of the Bible in the broader study of the humanities. Each of the subjects discussed in the series – violence, collective memory, Jewish and Christian interpretation, and the confluence of English translations of Bible and Greek epic poetry – offers a fascinating example of cross-cultural inquiry.
THIRD LECTURE: “Language Matters: Christian Engagement with Hebrew Language and Jewish Biblical Interpretation in the Middle Ages”
Deeana Klepper, Department of Religion, Boston University
Thursday, March 14, 2013, 4:00PM, Herter 301
Medieval Christians viewed the Hebrew Bible as an "Old Testament" preface to a fulfilled "New Testament." For many centuries, Christians were largely interested in the way that the Hebrew Bible prefigured the New Testament, and they were content with ancient Latin or Greek translations of the text. But the twelfth century saw the development of new ways of reading the Bible, including a new emphasis on the plain sense of the text. From that point on, a small but influential number of Christians mastered Hebrew, convinced that the Hebrew text and Jewish interpretation of it could and should be used in Christian Bible study. Christian Hebraism continued through the Reformation and became a critical component of early modern European intellectual culture. The story of this tradition provides an important counterpoint to the very real hostility that Christians often showed to Jews during this same period.
All lectures in this series, sponsored by the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, are free and open to the public. All venues are on campus and wheel-chair accessible.