In this elective session, Christine Hayes discusses how the study of primary Jewish texts (Tanakh and Hazal) contributes to contemporary political and moral debates. Why do we turn to ancient sources when engaging contemporary concerns? What are hoping to find — permission or authentication? clarity or complexity? How do we deal ethically and honestly with texts that make us uncomfortable? Are there principles for navigating the inevitable gap between the world of the texts and the world of the modern reader?
This program was recorded during our two-week symposium on Judaism, Citizenship & Democracy in October 2020.