seminars spring 2018

30 januari 15.15–17.00 Professor Emerita Rachel Elior, Hebrew University of  Jerusalem, The significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for understanding the centrality of the priestly calendar

Professor Rachel Elior is John and Golda Cohen Professor Emerita of Jewish  Philosophy and Jewish Mystical Thought at the Hebrew University of  Jerusalem.  She has been the Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she studied and got her PhD Summa Cum Laude (1976) and where she taught between 1977–2014. She is the author of numerous works on Jewish Mysticism and Hasidism, including: The Paradoxical Ascent to God: the Kabbalistic Theosophy of Habad Hasidism (Albany: SUNY 1992); The Three Temples: On the Emergence of Jewish Mysticism (Oxford: Littman 2004); The Mystical Origins of Hasidism (Oxford: Littman 2006); Jewish Mysticism: The Infinite Expression of Freedom (Oxford: Littman 2007) and Dybbuks and Jewish Women in Social History, Mysticism and Folklore (NewYork: Urim 2008);  Men and Women: On Gender Judaism and Democracy (ed. R. Elior), Van Leer Institute and Urim Publications, Jerusalem 2004; Memory and Oblivion On the Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Van Leer Institute 2009)[Hebrew] ; Israel Ba'al Shem Tov and his Contemporaries (Jerusalem : Carmel 2014) [Hebrew]. She was a research fellow and visiting professor at University College London, The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Oberlin College, and The Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Case Western University, Yeshiva University-New York, Tokyo University, Princeton University and Doshisha University in Kyoto. Chicago University and Lomonosov Moscow State University. Prof. Elior is the recipient of many honors, among them the Fridenberg Excellence Award of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Yigal Alon-Brecha Fellowship, Rothschild-Geneva Award, Lucius Littauer Prize, Memorial Foundation Fellowship and Warburg Prize. She was awarded the 2006 Gershom Scholem Prize for the Study of Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism by The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. She was honored with Doctor honoris causa by Hebrew Union College at Cincinnati and Jerusalem at 2016. She has written 15 books (seven of them translated into English, Spanish and Polish) and edited 10 others on Jewish Mysticism in various periods.

21 februari, 15.15–17.00, Fil dr. Lukasz Gorniok, Paideia, The reception of the Polish Jewish Refugees in Sweden in 1968

Dr. Lukasz Gorniok received his Ph.D. in History at Umeå University, Sweden. He has focused on the history of Polish Jews and Czechoslovaks in Sweden during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He works as the Head of the One-Year Jewish Studies Program at Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden.

29 mars, at 15:15–17:00 Ph D candidate Daniel Waller, Department of Old Testament and Early Judaism at the University of Groningen, Demons, Divorces, and Tours of Heaven & Hell. Samarrangemang mellan Hebreiska bibeln/GT och FJS. 

Daniel James Waller is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Mladen Popović and Kocku von Stuckrad in the Department of Old Testament and Early Judaism at the University of Groningen.  He has published articles on both biblical narrative and the use of narratives in magical texts, as well as a monograph detailing a cognitive approach to biblical Hebrew verse. He is a member of the Qumran Institute at the University of Groningen, and the Carol & Eric Meyers Doctoral Dissertation Fellow for 2017-18 at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. His PhD project comprises the first, large-scale synthetic treatment of the Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Incantation Bowls and represents a ‘rhetorical poetics’ of these texts.

The Aramaic Incantation Bowls are a form of late antique apotropaic magic whereby the insides of simple earthenware bowls were inscribed with spiralling incantations in different dialects of Aramaic. Turned upside down and buried beneath the floors of people’s homes, these bowls functioned as a kind of mouse-trap for demons. In composing these protective texts, the Jewish, Christian and Mandaean magical practitioners who wrote them drew on popular demonological lore, legal and liturgical sources, early forms of mystical literature, and (myths and legends derived from) biblical texts. In my lecture, I will examine the creative use of these materials in the bowls, with a focus on the narrative spells used in their texts. These spells recount tales of vast cosmic battles, strange journeys to the otherworld, and stories of demonic divorces. Not only do they reflect the late antique religious imagination, but focussing on them will allow us to examine how the communities behind the bowls conceived of and constructed their religious heritage.