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Do Jews Believe in Saints? A Medieval Rabbi and his Posthumous Travels

6:30 pm, 21 May 2015

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Lucia Raspe, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt

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Thursday May 21st

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In conjunction with the Jewish Historical Society of England

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Lucia Raspe teaches in the Jewish Studies department of Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. She has held fellowships at the Hebrew University and at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, and she is currently a visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies of the University of Oxford. Her publications include 'Jüdische Hagiographie im mittelalterlichen Aschkenas' ('Jewish Hagiography in Medieval Ashkenaz', 2006), as well as numerous articles on medieval and early modern Ashkenazic culture.

The veneration of saints is not a practice one normally associates with Judaism. Nevertheless, hagiography (i.e. the writing of the lives of saints) emerged as one of the most popular genres of Jewish narrative in the early modern period. The talk will trace the posthumous career of one "Ashkenazi saint", historically among the founding fathers of the Jewish settlement in medieval Ashkenaz, from the Rhineland through early modern Italy, and, finally, to present-day Israel. In so doing, it will shed light on how some of the major transformations of the early modern period shape our sense of the Jewish past even today.

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Reception from 6.30 pm, Pearson lecture theatre, Pearson Building (NE entrance) 

Lecture 7.00 pm

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BOOK ONLINE NOW TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE

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For more events, see our Lectures Programme for Spring/Summer 2015.