Jews and Words: A Secular, Cultural Perspective
March 6 – March 17, 2017
Fania Oz-Salzberger is Director of Paideia and Professor of History at the Faculty of Law and Center for German and European Studies, University of Haifa. She previously also taught at Monash University and at Princeton University. Fania was raised in Kibbutz Hulda on modern Hebrew culture and the kibbutz movement’s creative understanding of the Jewish legacy. Her Oxford University thesis became her first book, Translating the Enlightenment: Scottish Civic Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Oxford, 1995). Her main field is the history of political ideas in Europe, especially their transfer between cultures and languages. She also researches Jewish ideas in historical perspectives – from early modern political Hebraism (Grotius to Hobbes) to her current work on Jewish textual nationhood. Her most recent book, Jews and Words (Yale, 2012), co-authored with Amos Oz, has been translated into 13 languages. Fania is deeply engaged with public and current affairs, and takes part in an ongoing Israeli-European dialog. Her book Israelis in Berlin first appeared in Hebrew and German in 2001, with a new edition in 2014.
If we respectfully leave divine providence out of Jewish history, how can we explain the unique continuum beginning with ancient Hebrews or Israelites, and proceeding along a textual line all the way to 21st-century Jews? Does “Judaism”, a modern term, refer to a religion, an ethnic group, a culture, or a nation? What is “textual nationhood”? Can one be secular and remain Jewish? Such questions, and many others, will be discussed in this course as we read ancient and modern texts.
To participate in the course, please contact Paideia at email@example.com.