UCL Institute of Jewish Studies


Depicting Jewish Thought

01 September 2015–02 September 2015, 10:00 am–4:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



Institute of Jewish Studies


J.Z. Young Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building, UCL

IJS Summer Conference 2015

Co-sponsored by the FU Berlin (Center for International Cooperation) and the Zentrum für jüdische Studien, Berlin and held in honour of Prof. Ada Rapoport-Albert (UCL)

Concepts and ideas can be recorded, preserved and passed on in various ways. Many entail the use of some kind of visual representation and specific iconography. This conference looks at ways in which Jews from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period have represented knowledge and its impact through visual means, and how the interrelation between thought and visual representation defined and changed Jewish culture and society. "Jewish thought" is not limited to particular disciplines or currents within Jewish intellectual history, but includes philosophy as well as kabbalah and mysticism, magic as well as midrash, legal reasoning and halachah as well as comprehending the logic.

While Jewish depictions of thought belong to and must be considered within the broader society and culture of a given place and time, this conference will address the question whether certain depictions are preferred by or unique to proponents of Jewish thought and to what extent one can speak of a particularly Jewish way of representing knowledge.

Conference convenor: Lukas Muehlethaler (FU Berlin)

Keynote Lecture: Sander L. Gilman (Emory University) "Born This Way" Debates about Authenticity and the Jews 


Tuesday September 1

10-10.15 Welcome

10.15-11.00 Lukas MUEHLETHALER (Freie Universität Berlin): Depicting Hebrew Science in Print - Joseph Solomon Delmedigo's  Sefer Elim

11.30-12.15 Joanna WEINBERG (University of Oxford): Depicting Jewish History: David Gans' Tsemah David

12.15-13.00 Tal ILAN (Freie Universität Berlin): 'Birds of a feather ...' Ornithology, halakhah, humor and gender in a Sugya from Tractate Hullin of the Babylonian Talmud

14.30-15.15 David HAMIDOVIC (University of Lausanne): The donkey and the god Tartaq in the Jerusalem Talmud: an example of multiple cross-cultural transfer 

15.15-16.00 Giulio BUSI (Freie Universität Berlin): Visual Kabbalah: How to keep the Emanation in sight

16.30-17.15 Yossi CHAJES (University of Haifa): Diagramming Sabbateanism

17.15-18.00 Florentina GELLER (Freie Universität Berlin): The Akedah

18.45-20.00 Evening keynote lecture Sander GILMAN (Emory University): "Born This Way" Debates about Authenticity and the Jews

Wednesday September 2

10.00-10.45 Frank ALVAREZ-PEREYRE (CNRS, Paris): Playing hide and seek: Is there a Jewish way?

10.45-11.30 Elad LAPIDOT (Freie Universität Berlin): Seeing with Ears. Mashal Depiction in Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah

12.00-12.45 Lennart LEHMHAUS (Freie Universität Berlin): Knowledge of the body and bodies of knowledge - depicting Jewish medical thought in Talmudic tradition.

14.15-15.00 Helen JACOBUS (UCL): The zodiac in Jewish contexts from antiquity until today and the question of its role

15.00-15.45 Sara HAN (Freie Universität Berlin): The Reading People

15.45 Concluding remarks