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The Origin of the Jews: The Quest for Roots in a Rootless Age with Steven P. Weitzman

May 24, 2018 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Building 360, Conference Room

Free and open to the public

Steven Weitzman, Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures, Ella Darivoff Director of the Katz Center of Advanced Judaic Studies at Pennsylvania University

Prof. Weitzman specializes in the Hebrew Bible and the origins of Jewish culture. Recent publications include Surviving Sacrilege: Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity(Harvard University Press, 2005); Religion and the Self in Antiquity (Indiana University Press, 2005); The Jews: A History (Prentice Hall, 2009); and a biography of King Solomon, part of the new “Jewish Lives” series, published by Yale University Press in 2011. 

Prof. Weitzman received his Ph.D. from Harvard University after completing his B.A. at UC Berkeley, and spent several years teaching in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University where he served as director of its Jewish Studies program for six years. He comes to Penn from Stanford University, where he was Daniel E. Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion and the director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies.

The Jews have one of the best known origin stories in the world, tracing their ancestry back to the Bible, but for more than a century, scholars have questioned the traditional account, coming up with various alternative theories to account for the  Jews' emergence. When exactly did they appear? In what circumstances? And why do historians understand their origins in such different ways? This talk will address these questions by exploring some of the latest research bearing on the origin of the Jews, moving from from the Bible to 21st-century biology. Along the way, it will reflect on Stanford's distinctive contribution to the quest to understand where and from whom the Jews descend

Event Sponsor: 
Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Department of Religious Studies