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College of Arts & Sciences
Jewish Studies Program

Spring 2017 Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship

Jon D. Levenson (Harvard Divinity School)--- “The Binding of Isaac in the Three ‘Abrahamic Traditions': The Jewish-Christian-Muslim Debate”

Date:     February 7, 2017
Time:     7:30 pm
Place:    Campus Room at Capstone House, University of South Carolina


 Dr. Jon D. Levenson

Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies
Harvard Divinity School

The episode that Jewish tradition calls “The Binding of Isaac” and Christian tradition terms “The Sacrifice of Isaac” plays a major structuring role in each tradition. In examining the ways the two traditions have appropriated their common scriptural story, we can understand better both the similarities and the differences between the two traditions. The parallel text in the Qur’an, in turn, exhibits strong overlaps but also revealing differences from both the Jewish and the Christian sources and helps us understand both the strengths and the limitations of the claim that these three religious traditions constitute varieties of one “Abrahamic Religion.”

Professor Levenson’s work concentrates on the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, including its reinterpretations in the "rewritten Bible" of Second Temple Judaism and rabbinic midrash. In addition, one of his courses deals with the use of medieval Jewish commentaries for purposes of modern biblical exegesis, and another focuses on central works of Jewish theology in the twentieth century.

Professor Levenson has a strong interest in the philosophical and theological issues involved in biblical studies, especially the relationship of premodern modes of interpretation to modern historical criticism. Much of his work centers on the relationship of Judaism and Christianity, both in antiquity and in modernity, and he has long been active in Jewish-Christian dialogue.

His book Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life (Yale University Press, 2006) won a National Jewish Book Award and the Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Award in the category of Best Book Relating to the Hebrew Bible published in 2005 or 2006. Choice, a publication of the American Library Association, listed Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton University Press, 2012) as one of the Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013. His new book is The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton University Press, 2015). In all his work, Professor Levenson's emphasis falls on the close reading of texts for purposes of literary and theological understanding.



An event brochure and poster are available at the links below.

PDF icon 2017 Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship Brochure PDF icon 2017 Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship Poster