Research project(s): Prophetic Politics in Transatlantic Transfer
Organized in cooperation with the Zentrum Fur Literatur – Und Kulturforschung (Center for Literary and Cultural Research, Berlin) and the Center for Jewish History, New York
Modern forms of prophetic rhetoric became important models for social and political change. The rise of modern political theology, political messianism, secularization, or the revival of “prophetic charisma” contributed to a different mode of revolutionary or reformative change. This change has been characterized by a tight relation between ethical and epistemological, normative and utopian claims, all of which integrated tropes of prophetic rhetoric. From this perspective, it is not sufficient to talk about religious rhetoric in relation to concepts such as hegemony and control; it is as important to consider its appearance in non-institutional discourses and different expressions of popular resistance, and then not only as mere gestures, but in the form of specific practices.
Our workshop in New York will continue in laying the foundation for a transatlantic cooperation about prophetic politics in the twentieth century. A first workshop was held in Berlin in June 2017, and focused mostly on references to an elitist and theoretical form of political prophecy in the Weimar republic. The second workshop, in New York, will follow the prophetic figure across the ocean, as it moves, with A.J. Heschel, Martin Buber, and Paul Tillich, to the American context. Here, historians believe, prophetic politics became more vernacular and more democratic. The second workshop will examine how and where the radical intellectual figure meets with other traditions of prophetic speech, such as the American Jeremiad, Walt Whitman’s transcendental prophetic plea, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X’s use of prophetic tropes, and the American-Muslim call for social and political reform.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Daniel Weidner (ZfL) and Nitzan Lebovic (Lehigh University): Introduction
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Brian Britt (Virginia Tech University): Prophetic Perfectionism: The Afterlives of Nat Turner and John Brown
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Sam Brody (The University of Kansas): Prophecy and Powerlessness
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Sarah Hammerschlag (The University of Chicago): Believing in the U.S.A.: Derrida, Melville and the Great American Charlatan
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Zvi Ben-Dor Benite (New York University): The Prophetic Voice: Political-Theological Perspectives
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Keynote Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth College): Political Prophecy versus Liberation Theology: Ethical and Mystical Dimensions
Thursday, September 14, 2017
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Reading session: Written prophecy
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Saladin Ambar (Rutgers University): Catch on Fire: Malcolm X and the Black Prophetic Tradition
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Vincent Lloyd (Villanova University): Samuel Delany as Prophetic Critic
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
John Pettegrew (Lehigh University): James Baldwin's "Gospel of Love" in Mid-20th Century Democratic Thought
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
In this lecture, I explore the affinities between the atonality of Heidegger’s speculation on the essence of the truth of being that eludes objectification and the nonsystematic system championed by the kabbalists in their effort to diagram the infinity that resists all schematic representation. I will argue that Heidegger’s Seyn and the kabbalistic Ein Sof are postontological constructs that call into question the suitability of systematic thinking applied to the being that is the singular fragmentation of all beings but that can never be confined to any particular being. Heideggerian and kabbalistic hermeneutics can be contemplated from the perspective of the atonality of thought, which is profitably compared to a musical fugue wherein the different aspects are joined together compositionally into a polyphonic whole in which each jointure intones the same sequence of notes from a contrapuntal perspective without a tonal center.
Co-sponsors: The Humanities Center, Department of Philosophy and Department of Religion Studies
David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English
Director, The Beren Writing Center
Joy Ladin is often asked how she reconciles being religious with being transgender. In this talk, she will explain how her childhood experience of hiding both her trans identity and her relationship with God has led her to see transgender experience as enriching rather than challenging, opposing or "queering" religious tradition, a perspective she will illustrate by reading the story of Jonah (a man who preferred to die than live as who he was) from a trans perspective. Building on the work of feminist theologians, she will argue that expanding our understanding of humanity to be more gender-inclusive enables us to expand our understanding of God.
Joy Ladin's return to Yeshiva University as a woman after receiving tenure as a man made her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution and made page-3 news in the New York Post. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award, and she is also the author of seven books of poetry, including Lambda Literary Award finalists Impersonation and Transmigration. She holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University, and her work has been recognized with a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and an American Council of Learned Societies research fellowship. She has spoken about gender identity issues around the country, and is currently writing a book of trans Jewish theology entitled, I Am What I Will Be: Meeting God at the Burning Bush of Becoming.
Co-sponsor: Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.
Free non-ticketed event.
Paid parking available at Zoellner Arts Center or on street meter parking.
Thursday, December 3rd - 4:10PM
Humanities Center, Lehigh University
The Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies
The Humanities Center
Kocku von Stuckrad
Professor of Religious Studies, Dean of Faculty, Theology and Relgious Studies
University of Groningen, The Netherlands
"Buber, Scholem, and the Birth of Twentieth-Century Kabbalah from Jewish Intellectual Discourse"
Monday, November 30 - 7:00pm
Seegers Union, Muhlenberg College
Writing Transparent: Revealing the Modern Jewish Family on Television
Writer and Supervising Producer of Transparent
Gil Anidjar, Professor, Department of Religion & Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University
The notion of a 'founding murder' seems strange enough, yet it is a common enough motif. What is even more interesting is that -- contra Freud -- the ancient Greek and Hebrew stories posit a fratricide, rather than a patricide at the origin. I want to explore these two answers -- for it's all in the family, or so it seems -- to the question of murder. If time permits, I shall proceed to reflect on kinship and politics -- or kinship and violence, if there is a difference -- in the Western tradition.
On Friday, October 9 from 11am – 12:30pm there will be a response to Professor Anidjar’s book “Blood” facilitated by Lehigh professors Nitzan Lebovic from History and Hartley Lachter and Khurram Hussain from Religion Studies at the Humanities Center, 224 W. Packer Ave. for faculty and graduate students. Please RSVP to email@example.com for the Friday event.
Book signing & reception to follow.
The Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies presented the Benjamin and Judaism ConferenceThursday, March 5, 4:10 p.m. in Linderman Library, 200Keynote Speaker:Dr. Michael Jennings, Princeton University“Toward the Apokatastatic Will: Patristics and Esoteric Judaism in Walter Benjamin’s Late Theological Politics”Friday, March 6, 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Linderman Library, 200Paper Presentations and Discussions Dr. Brian Britt, Virginia TechDr. Christopher Driscoll, Lehigh UniversityDr. Udi Greenberg, Dartmouth CollegeDr. Eric Jacobson, University of RochamptonDr. Nitzan Lebovic, Lehigh UniversityDr. Michael Jennings, Princeton UniversityDr. Annika Thiem, Villanova UniversityFor more information or to download, view the flyer here or click on the image at right.Office of Interdisciplinary Programs - 610-758-3996 - firstname.lastname@example.org
co-sponsored by the Berman Center