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The Origins of Halakhah as an Evolving System

July 14, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

|Recurring Events (See all)

An event every week that begins at 12:00 pm on Tuesday, repeating until August 4, 2020


Four Tuesdays
July 14, 21, 28, August 4
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET

Many contemporary Jews, most paradigmatically (though not uniquely) in the Conservative Movement, understand Jewish law as evolving to meet the needs of each generation. This approach has its roots not in the last few centuries, nor even in the classical rabbinic period when the Talmud and Midrash were authored, but within the Torah itself. The various legal passages within the Torah are often in conversation with each other as they put forward differing understandings of what laws Israel must follow. Focusing on four cases, we will examine how later legal passages revise earlier ones and discover how biblical law displays the flexibility that we usually associate with much more recent interpretations of Jewish law.

With Dr. Benjamin D. SommerProfessor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages.