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Daniel BoyarinUT’s Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year with four speakers who will discuss Judaism and Israel from antiquity to the modern world.

The first speaker, Daniel Boyarin of the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss “Josephus Without Judaism” at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, October 24, in the McClung Museum auditorium, with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to the public.

“We’re very honored to start the celebration with a visit from Professor Boyarin,” said Gilya Schmidt, professor of religious studies and founding director of the program. “He’s a widely recognized Talmud scholar and investigates many aspects of Jewish life, based on ancient sources.”

Schmidt said the strength of the program’s speaker series and visiting scholars has been a hallmark since the program was founded two decades ago.

“It’s thrilling to look back over the past two decades and see the progress we’ve made,” she said. “Knoxville does not have a large Jewish community as compared to other cities, so it’s noteworthy that the program has received such broad support from the university and the entire region.”

Major donors have made a huge impact on the program’s inception and its continued success over the years, Schmidt said.

“The Steinfeld family was instrumental in getting the endowment started,” she said. “The Glazer family also has played a crucial role since the early days. Support from our donors and the community has allowed us to provide scholarships to help our students and to bring to campus distinguished scholars to teach about Israel as well as the Hebrew language and culture.”

Schmidt said the success of the program also is due to the enthusiastic participation by UT faculty, from those who serve on the Judaic Studies advisory committee to instructors who encourage their students to attend the lectures and events.

“We could not have come this far without the internal support of our colleagues and our students,” she said.

Other programs in the series:

  • Lucas Richman, director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, will discuss “Ernest Bloch: A Musical Neshuma (A Musical Soul): An Educational Moment in Music,” 5:00 p.m. January 23, 2014, in the McClung Museum auditorium, with reception to follow.
  • Henry Fribourg, UT professor emeritus of plant sciences, will take part in a lunchtime “nosh and chat” discussion, “Escape to Freedom: A Story of Survival, Dreams, Betrayal and Accomplishments,” organized by Professor Marilyn Kallet and the UT Creative Writing Program, noon February 12, 2014, in 1210 McClung Tower.
  • Tsvi Kahana of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, will deliver the Karen and Pace Robinson Lecture on Modern Israel, ” Majestic Constitutionalism: The Israeli Version,” organized by Professor Robert Blitt and the College of Law, 7:00 p.m. March 25, 2014, in College of Law Room 132, with reception to follow.

Sponsors for the Boyarin lecture include the Abraham and Rebecca Solomon and Ida Schwartz Distinguished Lecture Fund for Judaic Studies and the Departments of English, History, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Religious Studies.

For more information on the program, visit the website.


C O N T A C T :

Gilya Schmidt (865-974-2466, gschmidt@utk.edu)