The Jewish calendar controversy of 921/2: when Palestinians and Babylonians celebrated the festivals on different dates
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, 31 October 2018
Cruciform Lecture Theatre 2, Cruciform Building, Gower St, WC1E 6BT
Speaker: Sacha Stern, UCL
In 921/2 CE, the rabbinic leaders of Palestine and Babylonia disagreed about how the Jewish calendar should be calculated. As a result, the two communities, followed by other Jews in the Near East, observed Passover and the New Year, in 922 and 923, on different dates. Our knowledge of this momentous event comes from Cairo Genizah documents that Sacha Stern has recently researched and re-appraised. It has long been assumed that this controversy led to the triumph of the Babylonians and the finalization of the rabbinic Jewish calendar, but these assumptions will be completely revised.
Sacha Stern is Professor of Rabbinic Judaism and Head of Department at the UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He holds a BA in Ancient History from Oxford (1986), an MA in Social Anthropology from UCL (1988), and a D.Phil in Jewish Studies from Oxford (1992). He has also studied in Yeshivot in Israel. Before joining UCL in 2005, he was Lecturer in Jewish Studies at Jews' College, London and then Reader in Jewish Studies at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies). Sacha Stern specializes in ancient and medieval Jewish history, with a special interest in time, calendars, and chronology. He has also researched and published articles on early rabbinic attitudes to pagans and paganism, and more generally on early rabbinic literature and history.
Lecture 6.30pm Cruciform lecture theatre 2, Cruciform Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT. Entrance opposite UCL main gate.
Followed by drinks