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College of Arts & Sciences
Jewish Studies Program

1998 Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship

Solomon-Tenenbaum Lecture 1998


James Kugel

Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature, Harvard
Professor of Bible, Bar Ilan University, Israel


"Whose Fault Was the Fall of Man? 
The Bible's First Interpreters on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden"

September 9
8:00 pm
Gambrell Hall Auditorium

September 10
Symposium: 3:30pm 
Gambrell Hall, Room 151

Symposium topic: 
"The Bible in the University"

Symposium Participants:
James Kugel
Lawrence Rhu (English)
Ward Briggs (Classics)
Carl Evans (Religious Studies)

Kugel is one of the foremost experts on interpreting early biblical writings, from around the world. A popular lecturer, he is interested in how the Bible was understood by its earliest interpreters. At Harvard, his couse on early biblical interpretation draws 1,000 students each year. He also directs Harvard's Center for Jewish Studies and is co-founder and associate editor of "Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History."

Kugel's interest in traditional biblical interpretation stands in contrast to much modern scholarly study of the Bible, which tends to focus on the original context of biblical texts. He studies how the earliest interpreters understood the Bible, culling his information from hundreds of Jewish and Christian sources, from around 200 BCE through the first century CE. His latest book, "The Bible As It Was" (Harvard), presents a comprehensive account of his research. The book was nominated for one of the National Book Critics Circle awards in 1997.

His other books include an expanded scholarly version of "The Bible As It Was", "On Being a Jew,," "In Potipar's House," "The idea of Biblical Poetry" and "Early Biblical Interpretation."