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Moses at Sinai: God’s Partner or Adversary? Part 1

The first of a two-part study guide and lecture by Christine Hayes about Moses and the giving of the Torah at Sinai.
Dr. Christine Hayes is a Senior Fellow of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She is the Sterling Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, specializing in talmudic-midrashic studies. She received a BA in the Study of Religion, summa cum laude, from Harvard University and both an MA and PhD from the University of California Berkeley, Department of Near Eastern Studies. Her most recent book, What’s Divine about Divine

Moses at Sinai: God’s Partner or Adversary? Part 1

In this video lecture, Hartman research fellow Christine Hayes explores the following question: Who is the God of the Bible and Jewish tradition, and what does this God expect, want, and need of Moses and of Israel?

In Part 1, she analyzes an interaction in Exodus between God and Moses at the time of the revelation of the Torah, specifically in the immediate aftermath of the sin of the Golden Calf when God is at the brink of delivering the Tablets to Moses. Two distinct images of God and of Moses’s relationship with God emerge from this narrative.

In Part 2 (upcoming), she identifies the same two models of God and of divine-human interaction and traces them throughout rabbinic midrash.

Note that while Part 1 can be enjoyed independently of Part 2, it will be difficult to access the latter without the former. Feel free to watch the video on your own, or watch and study the texts with a partner.

In the first 22 minutes of the video below (from 22.20 onward will be Part 2) she provides a methodology of studying biblical and midrashic texts. See below for a source sheet and follow-up questions for discussion and reflection.


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