Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Lectures Religious What Is the Torah, Actually? Preparing for Shavuot




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Jun 03 2024


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)


What Is the Torah, Actually? Preparing for Shavuot

Part of our spring learning series Timely Insights, Timeless Wisdom 

Monday, June 3, 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET (New date!)

With Dr. Benjamin Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages, JTS

This session is generously sponsored by Yale Asbell, JTS Trustee, and by the Talkback group of Temple Israel Scranton and Beyond in appreciation for the Torah that is disseminated from JTS and the scholars who share their Torah.

We’ve heard its stories; we’ve heard it chanted in synagogue; we’ve seen it hoisted in the air displaying handwritten ink on parchment; we’ve taken classes on it. But what, actually, is the Torah? A law code? A history book? An ancient novel? A saga? None of these categorizations quite fits. In this session, we’ll consider what defines the distinctive genre of the Torah, where this genre comes from, how it reappears in Jewish culture over the ages, and what addressing these questions can teach us about the Jewish religion.

If you have previously registered for another session in this series, your registration admits you to all sessions in the series, and you may attend as many as you’d like.

The Zoom link for all sessions in the Timely Insights, Timeless Wisdom series will be in the confirmation email that you receive after you register.


Join JTS’s renowned faculty to learn about their current scholarly work and greatest passions. Drawing on their expertise, scholars will offer inspiring learning and expose us to new ideas and insights that help us connect the Jewish past with the Jewish future.