“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.
FIRST LECTURE IN THE SERIES:
"Sanctified Violence and Priestly Succession in Biblical Narrative"
David Bernat, Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, UMass Amherst
Thursday, February 28, 2013, 4:00PM, SOM 123
The Torah, or Pentateuch, contains what can be read as a chain of narratives leading to the selection of the Aaronide line for the High Priesthood. These episodes (Genesis 34, Exodus 32, Leviticus 10, and Numbers 25) each highlight an act of divine and/or human brutality. The paper investigates the thread of violence common to these pivotal accounts. The Pentateauch's Priestly succession arc is treated as both political rhetoric and as a creation myth. Biblical materials will be considered in their canonical context, and against the background of relevant Ancient Near Eastern cognate writings. The presentation follows from Professor Bernat's work on violence in the Bible and rabbinic literature, and specifically on the figure of Phinehas in scripture and in ancient Jewish interpretive traditions.
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.
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-545-2550.
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