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Lecture series winter semester 2022/23

Jüdische Theologie: Eine Bestandsaufnahme I Taking Stock of Jewish Theology: Scholarship and Meaning

Dienstag I 14–16 Uhr c.t.
School of Jewish Theology, Universität Potsdam, Campus Am Neuen Palais, Haus 15, Raum 0.08 I ZOOM

Jewish theology” is a modern concept applied to a body of ideas, texts, practices, and customs from ancient times onward that have formed a complex tradition. From biblical times through the rabbinic period into medieval times, this tradition has evolved historically in interaction with its different social, religious, political, and cultural environments. The advent of modernity accelerated and intensified this engagement with the surrounding environments of Jews and Judaism. The tradition, while never monolithic itself, diversified into a wide range of religious ideologies, philosophies, and theologies.

These modernization processes caused intra-Jewish debates that included the notion of loss. They focused on the perception that Judaism as a holistic way of life and thinking was being transformed beyond recognition into foreign and reductive concepts. Particularly problematic was the perception that these terms had been essentially shaped by Christian religious thought. Some proponents of Jewish religious and intellectual modernization, however, embraced these reinterpretations. They developed new kinds of Jewish religious thought, some self-consciously understanding themselves as Jewish theologies. Their legitimacy has been questioned from the start.

The lecture series traces the fundaments of Jewish theology and its modern transformations to the ruptures and new horizons Jews and Judaism have faced in the past century and into the present. A cadre of renowned scholars will link historical developments to timeless and current questions of meaning derived from Judaism for Jews and non-Jews, thereby taking stock of “Jewish theology” as a scholarly discipline and meaning-promising fundament of Jewish life and religious life beyond Judaism.



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